On the back of a thrilling Isuzu FA Vase victory, Redcar Athletic mark their Northern League return with a trip to West Auckland.
Even on a spate of indisputably good form, this week will prove the Steelmen’s toughest yet, as two of the division’s strongest outfits lie in wait.
Tonight, Gary Forster’s men will have eyes for a fifth successive win, and an eighth game unbeaten, but face an astute West Auckland Town in their path.
Spurred on by proficient summer recruitment, West have been tipped with an outside chance at promotion, although have fared rather indifferently in their opening five league games.
Lead in attack by ex-Boro man, Stephen Walker, Town will no dount provide a stern test for Redcar this evening, but with players returning from injury, and Isaac Walker in the driving seat, Forster will no doubt be optimistic about his side’s chances of returning to Teesside with a result.
Here’s everything you need to know about tonight’s mouth-watering Northern League action…
WHO ARE YA?
Honoured to bear the title of first World Cup winners, West Auckland are another Northern League club heaped with history.
Invited to compete in the inaugural Sir Thomas Lipton Trophy in 1909, West swept through the competition without conceding, clinching the title in honour of Great Britain.
The Durham-outfit beat Stuttgart by two goals to nil in the semi final, before repeating the feat over Swiss side, FC Winterthur in the final in Turin.
Town were invited back to the competition two years later, where they remarkably defended their title, earning the right to the possession of the coveted trophy with a devastating 6-1 victory over none other than Juventus.
Unfortunately, their joy was short-lived, as the tour left the club swamped with debt, and they were forced to offer the trophy as security for a loan from a local pub.
Having regained possession of their greatest honour in 1960, the trophy was stolen in 1994, and hasn’t resurfaced since.
LAST TIME OUT
Redcar Athletic’s last visit to the Wanted Stadium proved a frustrating, and upsetting evening for the club.
A contentious defeat on the pitch, headlined by a controversial breakaway goal in the closing moments, was marred even further by events on the terraces, leaving those of a Redcar persuasion thoroughly miserable en route back to the seaside.
At Green Lane, however, the Steelmen sought their revenge, and the fruitful combination of Oscar Fletcher and Donny Holdsworth certainly obliged.
The pair linked up to perfection in attack, with the latter sinking the visitors with yet another clinically taken hat-trick, despite their late resurgence, and efforts to snatch a point.
WATCH | Redcar Athletic 4-3 West Auckland Town
Seven games unbeaten, Redcar Athletic come into tonight’s eye-catching encounter brimming with confidence.
Not only are the team on fine form, but star man Isaac Walker’s purple-patch shows no sign of yielding.
The forward struck yet another two goals on Saturday, taking his tally to 11 for the season, with a further five assists.
As for the home side, this evening provides a welcome return to Northern League action.
Tipped for league success this season, West Auckland currently make up the bottom five, however only one of their last six outings has been in the division.
An indifferent start in the league, West will be looking to kick on tonight, and mount a climb back up the table, with games in hand.
As key players begin to return from injury, first team boss Gary Forster is treat to a new, more favourable dilemma: who to leave out?
Midfielder Joe Ferguson made a surprise return to the side on Saturday, making his second Redcar debut off the bench in the dying embers.
Whilst his full return will have to be managed – to avoid exasperating a long-term issue – his place amongst the bench provides a welcome boost, with his short cameo still offering a glimpse into his raw talent.
Defenders Joe Thompson and Mason McNeill were also restored to the XI, coming back from injury and illness respectively.
Forster now has a lone long-term absence to content with, and one which isn’t too far away from his eagerly-anticipated return…
FINDING THE WANTED STADIUM
Playing their football at Darlington Road, the Wanted Stadium (as known for sponsorship reasons) can be found using the postcode DL14 9AQ.
Gates will open at 6:00pm, ahead of a 7:30pm kick-off, with admission priced at £6 for adults, £4 for concessions, and £2 for u16s.
Entry fares to the Wanted Stadium are to be paid with cash only.
FOOD AND DRINK
Both the bar and a food kiosk will be open as usual, to serve fans up matchday scran and pre-game pints.
These venues will accept cash and card.
ISUZU FA VASE FOOTBALL AT GREEN LANE
On the back of one historic Isuzu FA Vase clash at Green Lane, another follows suit, as Redcar Athletic welcome Silsden to the Redcar seafront.
The Northern Counties East League table-toppers sent fellow Teessiders Billingham Synthonia packing in the second qualifying round, and will make for a tough test on yet another ground-breaking day for the town.
Find out more: Ticket details to be announced at a later date.