Durham City played their final match of the season at Consett FC on Tuesday night where they have co-habited at Belle View Stadium this season and some of last.
As a Delves Lane resident, being able to watch both of my favourite Northern League sides each week, a mere two minute drive from my home was a luxury I have greatly enjoyed.
Manager Ollie Hotchkiss is a vocal and positive voice on the sidelines and despite massive financial constraints and the prospect of his better players being poached by financially more stable clubs, he has built a good young team that is exciting to watch and has enjoyed success this season.
This is a great achievement for both Ollie and we should not forget former Manager Chris Moore. Durham was in the promotion race for a good chunk of the season thanks to players like Dan O’Reilly, Kieran McWaters, Adam Crathorne and Brad Hird proving their worth at Northern League level. These players and others will get even better next season and wherever Durham play next season, they will be worth watching. I hope it is only a matter of time before they get a new permanent home.
Tuesday’s match against Thornaby was Durham’s final match of the season, which is an early finish. One of Durham’s committee members commented that this was something Durham might have taken issue with had they remained in the promotion race as they would have had a more congested end of the season compared to other clubs who still have 4 or 5 matches left to play.
Durham’s final game almost boiled over towards the end of the match as Durham had let a 2-0 lead evaporate and at 2-2, a Thornaby player went in hard and appeared to go over the top of the ball with both feet in the air, resulting in an angry reaction from Durham players with lots of pushing and shoving.
The referee, who had a good game overall, consulted both assistants and decided to book Durham’s No. 8 for his reaction post tackle and the offending Thornaby player, their No. 2, for the tackle itself. Another referee could certainly have shown a straight red card and it was one of those decisions where one team was going to feel let down. If you don’t mind, I’ll sit on the fence. It was a close one.
Incidentally the same player for Thornaby, their right back, was sent off for a second bookable offence about five minutes later and on that occasion could have few complaints, it was a clear yellow card, although the player was clearly frustrated and angry as he returned to the dressing room.
Durham can be proud of their season. I’ll definitely watch them next season when time allows and recommend you do too.