Durham fall to an early goal
Cleveland, after a run of 4 defeats and a draw against Durham, recorded the victory they required, which enabled them to leapfrog Northumberland at the top of the NCSFA East League on goal difference to gain home advantage in the semi-finals.
Cleveland got their quest for victory off to the best possible start by scoring in the 4th minute when a corner was smartly headed home by an unmarked Nathan Thomas.
Durham did not allow this early setback to affect their play. As the first half progressed the visitors began to dominate possession and ask question of the home defence, which remained resolute until the final minute of the half. Durham broke through the Cleveland back line only for the Cleveland goalkeeper to impede the Durham forward’s progress and concede a penalty. Unfortunately, from Durham’s point of view, the kick cannoned off the post and the follow up shot was easily saved.
The second half began in a similar vein with Durham having plenty of possession but not testing the Cleveland goalkeeper.
As the game neared its conclusion Cleveland were finishing strongly and had 2 good opportunities to increase their lead but James Thorpe made 2 excellent saves to prevent the home team from gaining a flattering score line.
At the final whistle Cleveland were delighted they achieved their target of 3 points but Durham were disappointed they did not get a draw which their play deserved.