NORTHALLERTON TOWN beat fellow promoted side Whickham in a close game on Saturday.

The sides did not meet at all last season after fixtures were halted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Town had started the season with a 1-0 victory on the road at Bishop Auckland and a midweek home draw 0-0 against Seaham Red Star, where they played the whole of the second half with nine men after John Howard and Andrew Shepherd were sent off for separate infringements in the first period.

The only goal of Saturday's game came in the 70th minute when Nat Skidmore found Dan Jones, who in turn involved Joe Martin, and he found the head of Charlie Graham, whose header beat the Whickham 'keeper to land an an empty net.

As Whickham pushed for an equaliser, Tom Dawson saved brilliantly with one hand from a free kick, and Matt Crust headed the ball from under the Town bar.

Final score: Northallerton Town 1 Whickham 0


Northallerton Town FC: Tom Dawson, Andrew Shepherd, Charlie Graham, Matt Crust, Tom Marron (c) Dan Jones, Gary Shaw, Nat Skidmore, Brad Plant, Nat Stephenson and Stephen Cheeseman. Subs: Mickey Rae, Joe Martin, Lee Brockbank, John Howard and Kieron Ezard.

Whickham FC: Regan Ward, Tom Ward, Karl Downey, Ross Peareth (c) Kieran Galbraith, Charlie Exley, Jack Robson, Liam Doyle, Scott McCarthy, Conor Newton and Scott Robson. Subs: Tom Southern, Jayden Cathill-Taylor and Stephen Bowyer.

Referee: Glen Hart (Darlington)