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Newcastle Blue Star vs Easington Colliery (08/05/2024)

Ask any neutral their thoughts on the playoffs and they will say the additional games at the end of the season offer an incredible amount of excitement for those watching from a distance. Ask those watching the teams involved and the answer would be far less relaxed.

Because for those outfits that are given a second chance at promotion, all plans now go out the window. Form guides become irrelevant, tactical gameplans become harder to implement, holding your nerve becomes more important than ever.

What was four teams in the end of season Northern League Division Two playoffs has now seen the entry list halved in two and with the final approaching on Wednesday night, promotion awaits either Newcastle Blue Star or Easington Colliery.

Both outfits won their playoff semi-finals at the weekend, both teams did so in front of their own support. Blue Star getting the better of Horden Community Welfare with a late winner. Easington Colliery making light work of Bedlington Terriers.

Two heavyweights of the division that have already put the other on the canvas in the regular phase of this season. Two heavyweights now looking to finally land a knockout blow and progress further up the football pyramid.

Not only have both teams claimed a scalp on enemy territory earlier in the season, but both have done so in convincing fashion. Easington rattling the jaw of Blue Star with a 5-0 win at Scotswood at the very end of last year. Marc Nash’s men returning the favour with a 3-0 away win five weeks later.

Those respective victories are mere footnotes in a review of the season that finishes this evening and with nothing to split the two sides in terms of previous performance against each other, there is nothing to split them in terms of the form going into this game.

Each outfit's last six league games saw them earn 16 points from the 18 on offer. In doing so, it meant that Blue Star and Easington Colliery finished second and third in the overall table and first and second when looking at recent form alone.

The hosts and the visitors have generated their bursts of form at precisely the right point. Now, there are no more points up for grabs. Just a simple equation of win and you are in the 2024/25 lineup for the Northern League Division One, lose and you are playing the same familiar faces next season.

The nature of playoff football allows teams a second shot at glory, it also offers the cruel despair of missing out after falling at the very last hurdle. Both teams will enter this 50/50 raffle looking to claim the prize on offer, only one though can have the winning ticket.

Something which sets up this upcoming clash rather nicely. A warm welcome goes out to the visiting Easington Colliery team and support and for those who lend their voice to the home team, just as you did on Friday make sure to bring the noise throughout.


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