Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Stl Northern League Preview

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Stl Northern League Preview

Article excerpt

Byline: MALCOLM PRATT

NEWCASTLE Benfield face Spennymoor Town n the match of the day where events could have a big bearing on the destination of the championship.

Spennymoor are six points ahead of their nearest rivals, but go into the crucial game ravaged by injuries.

Anthony Peacock and Gavin Cogden were already ruled out for the remainder of the season - and now Adam Johnston will not kick a ball during the campaign.

He was carried off at Bedlington Terriers on Wednesday night when the game was abandoned.

Initially, it was thought he had broken his leg but the injury has now been diagnosed as ruptured ankle ligaments.

Assistant manager Perry Briggs said: "It is a great pity for the lad who had scored 21 goals. It means we are without three key players for the final six games and also missing today is Stephen Harrison.

"Michael Rea is a doubt, but fortunately Stephen Capper can play."

Newcastle Benfield boss Paul Baker has not given up hope of overtaking Spennymoor, but knows three points today are crucial.

He said: "Games are coming thick and fast and players are picking up niggling injuries.

"I will need to check on the fitness of Adam Rowntree and Brian Dodsworth but I am missing Phil Lumsden."

Although Shildon are third they have only two games to play and are out of the title race. They host fifth-top Consett, who need nothing short of a victory to keep alive their faltering hopes.

Whitley Bay visit Tow Law Town fourth from top.

Bay manager Ian Chandler said: "The result of today's match at Benfield is important, but we still have to play both Spennymoor and Benfield so who knows what might happen.

"We need to concentrate on collecting as many points as possible and see where we are for our last two fixtures against the leading pair."

There is encouraging news regarding the fitness of Paul Chow, who was taken to hospital during last week's game at Ashington. …

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