A hectic March starts this afternoon, as the Steelmen host Whickham on the Redcar seafront.

The Lang Jacks’ first visit to Green Lane since the leapfrogging on the final day of last season, an eight point deficit makes repeating the feat an unfortunate impossibility.

A three point deduction for Newcastle Benfield does leave the door ajar for the Steelmen to move away from the bottom five, albeit a far cry from snatching sixth place just ten months ago.

With the rough does come the smooth; a win this afternoon would mark a third successive triumph here on the Redcar seafront.

North Shields were the last to make the journey south in the Northern League, falling victim to a stoppage time strike from substitute Layton Watts, whilst Wearside League outfit Richmond Town were narrowly bested in last Tuesday’s cup bout.

A side besting the likes of Bury FC and Macclesfield this season, stretching a winning home run to four is a tough ask with Whickham standing in opposition, but one Carl Jarrett’s men will certainly be ready for.

Here’s everything you need to know about matchday number 25…

WHO ARE YA?

WHO ARE YA?

Whickham FC

Founded in 1944 as Axwell Park Colliery Welfare, Whickham are another fine example of the north east’s rich history of footballing brilliance.

Colloquially known as the Home Guard Team in their early endeavours, Whickham switched the Derwent Valley League for the Northern Combination League, moving again to the Wearside League before settling in Division Two of the Northern League.

It was in 1981 that the Gateshead outfit made national headlines, taking 5’000 supporters to the old Wembley Stadium in the FA Vase, only to fall to a quick two goal deficit.

The Lang Jacks battled back from adversity, Alan Scott and Ronnie Williamson levelling the affair at the final whistle, as Billy Cawthra’s breakaway goal snatched the coveted cup in extra-time.

Returning to the Northern League as the latest in line of teams from the region honoured in the competition, Whickham’s successes grew.

Manager Billy Hodgson took the Tynesiders to new heights, earning a brief stint in Division One in the late 1980s, into the early 90s.

Back in the comfort of the second division, Whickham clinched the prestigious Durham Challenge Cup trophy, seeing off a stellar Billingham Synthonia in the final. The club followed their latest piece of silverware with yet another, winning the Ernest Armstrong Memorial Cup.

In 2018, Whickham finally returned to the Northern League, finishing seventh and eighth in their last two seasons, having fallen two place on the final day of last season, courtesy of Redcar Athletic themselves.

CURRENT FORM

Two successive wins at Green Lane, a third would mark a bittersweet record in the current campaign.

Of course, winning three on the bounce – albeit including only home games – is an achievement, but given the club’s initial expectations, its one that seems all-but taunting.

Ignoring a weekend defeat to a relatively effortless Heaton Stannington, the Steelmen’s form is on the rise, with a win this afternoon sure to help boost the club away from the fringes of the ‘drop zone.’

The Lang Jacks have certainly seen better success than the Steelmen over the course of the season, although admittedly, not in the Northern League.

Whickham’s greatest triumphs have come in both the Emirates FA Cup and the Isuzu FA Vase, besting Bury FC and Macclesfield at the Glebe Arena in the latter part of 2023.

League play has been a lesser facet of the Gateshead outfit’s season, far behind schedule due to cup exploits, and thus struggling to keep pace with the leading pack.

Whickham do however boast the division’s top scorer, Scott Robson: praised for netting eight goals in just five days, in both a 5-3 defeat to Penrith, and a 7-1 thrashing of Carlisle City.

LAST TIME OUT

Perhaps the greatest evening in the most recent chapter of Redcar Athletic.

Deep in the midst of a mid-table slog at Christmas – and far beyond the realms of meeting any expectations – come the final day of the season, the Steelmen were in pole position to snatch a spot in the top six.

Climbing to seventh after a narrow triumph at Millfield, a win on closing day would guarantee Redcar’s late resurgence met a perfect end, of course, permitting the side in sixth failed to grind out a result.

Conveniently, both could be settled at once, as sitting in the final spot in the elusive top six was none other than season finale opponents, Whickham.

The Lang Jacks arguably boasted the upper hand on paper, having limited the Steelmen to a lone shot on target at the Glebe Arena (and just two efforts overall), but the momentum to boot for Gary Forster’s men was hard certainly hard to bargain with.

Craig Hutchinson primed Redcar Athletic to leapfrog their Tyneside counterparts, striking from range inside the opening half hour in reward for his great endeavour.

Tight at the back in the face of mounting pressure from the Lang Jacks, a stellar delivery from Joe Thompson settled the affair, nestling in the back of the net through a ghost flick from Sonni Coleman.

TEAM NEWS

Once again, there’s little to report on the team news front.

All those available for the postponed trip to Birtley Town in midweek are once again up for selection, besides Donny Holdsworth, who completed a move to West Auckland Town on Thursday.

Anthony Bell and Danny Boyle remain on the sidelines through injury, with the latter likely to begin the early stages of his return in the coming weeks.

Boyle was forced into a lengthy hiatus in a Boxing Day stalemate with Boro Rangers, having suffered a broken ankle through a poor challenge.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Joining us on the Redcar seafront today? Here’s all of the boring details that may be of interest.

FINDING BM BI-FOLD GREEN LANE

Nestled just off the coast road – with impeccable views out to sea, and across Cleveland – Green Lane sits off a residential road of the same name.

The ground can be found using the postcode TS10 3RW, just opposite the rugby and squash clubs at the foot of the street. 

ADMISSION

Affordable football for all, admission into Green Lane costs just £7 for adults, whilst those eligible as a concession – students and OAPs – pay £4.

Those under-16 can gain entrance to the ground for a mere £2, whilst members of the club’s junior section are admitted for free under their existing fees. 

A matchday programme will also be on sale for just £2 at the turnstile.

PARKING

In courtesy of our neighbours, please park respectfully in designated car parks in the vicinity of Green Lane.

There is to be absolutely NO street parking.

WHAT’S ON?

Forever a lively atmosphere, find out what’s in store at Green Lane this afternoon, including a show of support for the UK steel industry, courtesy of match sponsor, Unite the Union.

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