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North boys not up for the battle.

Northumberland Under-18s blew their last chance of promotion to the First Division of the Northern Counties FA Youth Championship.

Producing one of their poorest performances of the season, they were beaten 1-0 by a superior North Riding side at Whitley Park.

In a game they had to win to retain any interest in the competition, the Northumbrians suffered an early blow when the visitors scored what turned out to be the winner after just four minutes.

Sonny Andrews forced a corner on the right and from his cross the unmarked Joe Gollogly was able to pick his spot from eight yards out.

Northumberland had two chances to equalise after this setback but both Ben Richardson and Michael Bowman were wide of the mark.

North Riding's Sonny Andrews was particularly impressive and twice went close to increasing the lead.

His team-mate Jamie Dewing should have done better, his shot from 10 yards drifting just wide of goalkeeper Dan Regan's right-hand post.

Northumberland were forced to reshuffle in the second half with injured defender James Jarvis replaced by Michael Creswick.

They began to play with more urgency and Richardson's swirling free-kick forced visiting keeper Liam Watson to punch clear.

Following a mazy run down the left by Craig Johnson, Chris Tait had a perfect chance to level for Northumberland ( but fired wide.

Watson then produced a great block to deny Liam Cairns and Lee Middleton headed the rebound over the bar. At the other end, Northumberland's keeper Regan did well to deny North Riding's Andrews and the visitors defended well in the closing stages to secure a narrow win.

This disappointing result leaves Northumberland with only one group stage fixture to play.

However, even if they beat East Riding in Yorkshire on March 17 they still will not qualify for the finals.

NORTHUMBERLAND: Regan, Cairns, Smyth (McIntyre 51), Richardson, Jarvis (Creswick 75), Middleton, Lisle, Tait, Douglas (Smith 63), Bowman, Johnson. Subs (not used): Hayes, Branley.

NORTH RIDING: Watson, Mathias, Turner, Butterworth, Gollogly, Farley, Gaffney, Dewing, Johnston, Andrews, Hill. Subs: Gell, Hewson, Ovington.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Feb 24, 2007
Words:340
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