22 May 2024

Shield semi-final is a reward for endeavour

by Richard Lusmore

For a few days this week, Easington United’s members could bask in the glow of some long-overdue success when celebrating a place in the semi-finals of the Yorkshire Old Boys Shield for the first time.

The Eastenders will head off to face Yorkshire Amateur League side Leeds City on a date still to be confirmed, aiming to go at least one step further in the historic competition.

Even allowing for the fact that the Wortley team they beat on Saturday wasn’t the one that had overcome them en route to lifting the Shield last season, victory is a feat worth revelling in, especially given that it was achieved by a squad that continues to be ravaged by injury and absence.

In fact, first team boss Craig Smalley must wonder what he’s done wrong to be the recipient of such bad fortune currently when it comes to player availability. Ahead of this Saturday’s home game against Bridlington Town Reserves, he must again reshuffle his pack, with several members of the squad that played last week missing.

Adam Smith’s gamble in featuring against Wortley means he’s now resigned to a place on the sidelines for the foreseeable future. He joins skipper Liam Murrey (foot) and youngsters Billy Fincham and Dan Lorimer, both out with hamstring issues.

Goalkeeper Dan Fincham is also struggling to overcome a knee problem, while Ollie Bewell (wrist) and David Nolan (shoulder) have only just returned from their respective injuries, with both still striving for full match fitness.

With Chris Frost, Billy Symes and Jack Wright also absent on Saturday, the squad that kicked off the season with such high hopes back in August continues to be one that Smalley can only dream about fielding any time soon.

Still, as has been shown regularly already this term, those who are called up to fill the gaps have done so with good attitudes and no shortage of quality. This will be needed against a Seasiders team that only recently dumped the locals out of the East Riding Senior Country Cup with a 1-4 win at Low Farm – ironically, on one of the few occasions this term that Smalley has had almost a full squad to choose from!

The fact the senior squad continues to plug holes without noticeable loss of quality has been helped by the improved fortunes of the reserves this term. That continued last week thanks to a hard-fought 1-0 win over Reckitts Reserves, achieved by an early goal from another young prospect in Harry Anderson- Richardson.

The result lifted the locals up to fifth in East Riding County League Division 2 and they’ll hope to build on this when they visit Hull United Development on Saturday.

The hosts are struggling after a decent 2021-22 campaign in which they narrowly missed out on promotion. However, the Steve Prescott Centre is not a happy hunting ground for the locals. Indeed, given the likely first team call-ups and the Stiffs’ own injury problems – Ross Derbyshire’s knee problem being the latest setback – manager Sam Outing may well have to travel with a squad that is unrecognisable from that which claimed the points against Reckitts.

The thirds are also on the road on Saturday. Foxx Blyth takes his team to Thorpe Park Rangers Development hoping to end a run of four straight defeats, the last two of which have been close run affairs, with Saturday’s loss at AFC Cottingham seeing a potential win turned into defeat in the closing stages.

As always, Blyth will await selection of the two teams above him with no shortage of trepidation!

Numbers were also a problem for the Awd Ezzies who were forced to concede Sunday’s away game at Hull Vets League Division 5 leaders Northern Wanderers, with the locals left disappointed by their hosts’ unwillingness to look at rearranging the fixture.

Co-managers Daniel Campbell and Steve Ward will now hope for better availability ahead of the return to action on Sunday week, away at bottom club Priory B.

Away from the action, last week saw the club take delivery of the new 2022-23 third kit. Designed with the current Patrington link in play, it is a predominantly red affair but incorporates the traditional Easington colours by means of this season’s trademark sash. It’s already been well received by those who’ve seen it and our thanks go to APX Performance and Relay Port Agency for their support and sponsorship of this the last of six new strips procured.

With just over a week to go, a reminder that Saturday, December 10, is the date for the annual Race Night at the Marquis of Granby. Thanks go to all those who’ve sponsored races and/or bought horses. Bearing in mind the possibility of an England World Cup quarter-final tie taking place that night, we will organise the races around it to try to ensure maximum enjoyment of both events!

For up-to-date news, check out our club website at easington-united.co.uk, along with our social media pages on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (@EasingtonUtd).