North Shields Athletic Reserves lost a seven-goal Neville Cowey Cup semi-final against West Jesmond.
The tie promised to be a close affair after a 3-3 draw between the sides in the league last month, and a 1-0 win for Shields in the reverse fixture at the end of last year.
Shields raced into a two-goal lead thanks to a contrasting brace from midfield general Daniel Haggerston – the first a cross which found its way into the net, and the second a clean strike from inside the area. Mark Emmerson’s brilliant strike from range reduced the arrears, but Jonny Tait’s close-range header had Athletic 3-1 ahead at the interval.
Jesmond made a strong start to the second period and two goals in the space of five minutes levelled the game. Firstly, veteran midfielder Jed Manuel saw his shot deflect past goalkeeper Ryan Sarginson, then Danny Cousins spectacularly volleyed home from a tight angle.
The tie could then have gone either way, with Sarginson performing well for Shields, and Gareth Smith marshalling his Jesmond troops well at the back. However, the winner came when James Dixon took advantage of some defensive confusion and calmly slotted home, to earn West Jesmond their first final since their victory in the same competition against Kenton Bar Community in 2013.
They will now play Ponteland United Reserves, who reached the final for the second consecutive season with a 3-1 win over Gosforth Bohemian Reserves.
Colin McLaughlin scored for Bohs, but Kennie Malia’s side were celebrating thanks to strikes from Jack Brown, Daniel Troughton and Darren Parkes.
In the league, Newbiggin Hall were celebrating their first victory since August with a 3-1 win over Killingworth YPC. Shaun Cheetham, Nathan Lowdon and Rikki Tate were the goalscorers for Newbiggin Hall, who move up to fourth from bottom and above their opponents.
Stobswood Welfare continued their good recent form and moved into the top half with a 4-1 win over Newcastle Medicals. Jacob Baker, Jack Henderson, Louis Shanks and Sean Anderson netted for Stobswood, with Liam Walton scoring for Medicals.
Blyth Town Development won impressively 5-1 at Ryton and Crawcrook Albion Reserves, including a first ever goal in senior football for Charlie Mitchelson, whilst Newcastle East End beat Lindisfarne Custom Planet Reserves 2-1 despite a goal from Chris Conway.
The league are on the lookout for potential new clubs for the 2016-17 season, as well as potential new management committee members including anyone interested in being league secretary.
Anyone who has an interest in either should contact Neville Cowey on firstname.lastname@example.org