West Auckland Town 2-1 Bishop Auckland
David Dowson struck late on as West Auckland Town claimed their first win of the campaign in a memorable Derby Day encounter against local rivals Bishop Auckland.
Michael Hoganson opened the scoring for the Two Blues inside three minutes before second half goals from Adam Burnicle and Dowson’s first of the season fired West into 15thin the Northern League Division One table.
Gary Forrest made four changes from Saturday’s 3-2 defeat at Newton Aycliffe as Tom Flynn, Chris Hunter, Ross Colquhoun and Amar Purewal made way for Mark Bell, Nathan Fisher, Dowson and debutant Rees Greenwood, who arrived on a one-month loan from National League North side Spennymoor Town.
In a lively start, Bishop created the first magical moment in the Auckland Derby as skipper Hoganson took inspiration from Newcastle’s Fabian Schar, holding off a set of challenges, weaving in and out whilst charging towards goal before steering a deadly right-footed shot past Mark Bell in the bottom corner as West were left shell-shocked.
Two chances followed in quick succession for West. Firstly in the ninth minute, Adam Mitchell tested Nick Liversedge 30-yards-out with a crisp strike and just three minutes later, Mitchell was at the heart of the attack once more – this time from a free-kick out wide which found Burnicle unmarked in the centre, though the frontman could only place his effort agonisingly off target.
West piled on the pressure and forced another convincing save from Liversedge via Greenwood’s long-range strike though it was the Two Blues who ended the half stronger when Daryll Hall’s towering header from Hoganson’s corner smashed against the foot of the post.
It was a rather flat opening to the second half with Jamie Cobain carving out the first meaningful chance on 55 minutes, planting a diving header inches over the crossbar following Mitchell’s set piece delivery.
West’s perseverance paid off when they levelled proceedings courtesy of a well-worked team goal which started through Lewis Dodds’ flick on into Fisher, who’s low shot was parried by Liversedge into the path of Burnicle and the forward made no mistake as he rolled the ball home, much to the delight of the supporters inside the Wanted Stadium.
Ian Chandler’s side looked for an immediate response and thought they had regained the lead when substitute Bailey Prudhoe hit a sizzling strike from outside the area, only to be denied via an incredible one-handed save by Bell to tip it over the woodwork.
The Two Blues were then left stunned with six minutes remaining as Dowson produced late heroics inflicting a devastating blow to Bishop with a deflected finish beyond Liversedge to give West bragging rights as well as their first victory of the season.
With clock counting down The Two Blues had chances to equalise, first ex-West player Denver Morris found himself unmarked inside the six yard box but could only steer his header wide, and Darryll Hall’s effort was cleared on the line.
West now look to build on this with a second successivevictory at newly promoted Northallerton Town on Wednesday evening (19:30pm).
West Auckland – M. Bell, Hillerby, Hegarty, Cobain, Price, Mitchell, Dodds (c), Greenwood, Fisher, Dowson (Hornsby, 86), Burnicle
Subs not used – Hurworth, Turns
Goals – Burnicle (68), Dowson (84)
Bishop Auckland – Liversedge, Hart, Hoganson (c), Carling, Hall, Robinson (Prudhoe, 70), Munro, Judson (Tumilty, 36), Winn (Morris, 63), Parnaby, Fryatt
Subs not used – Chandler, Lawrence
Goal – Hoganson (3)
Referee – Glen Hart
Attendance – 412
Report by Harry Connor Crowe
Picture by Andy Mitchell.