We head up to West Terrace to face Esh Winning on Wednesday night for the first of our final four league games of the season, all of which are on the road. The original fixture scheduled for last month falling foul of the wet weather.
We've faced each other twice already this season; at home in the league at the end of October, we were beaten 4-0 with two of those goals coming in time added on at the end of the match. Our most recent meeting encounter came 11 days later in the second round of the Ernest Armstrong Memorial Cup when Birtley were 4-1 winners thanks to a first half hat-trick from Aaron McEwen, the first an excellent strike from 25 yards out which looped over the keeper and in off the inside of the post. If you want to relive that...just click HERE!
Esh sit in 17th place with 37 points from their 35 games and in their last five games, they have picked up 8 points from a possible 15, they have won their last two games to nil (Washington 4-0 and Billingham Synthonia 1-0) while a third clean sheet came in the 0-0 draw against Jarrow FC. Birtley, having won three of their previous fixtures were brought back to Earth with a bump when they lost their final home league game 3-0 at the hands of West Allotment Celtic on Friday gone.
The Hoops sit in 12th place on 44 points having played one game less. A Birtley win would see them narrow the gap to 11th-placed Willington to two points with three to play whilst also increasing the gap between them and 13th-placed Ryton & Crawcrook. An Esh win would see them climb one place to 16th.
Top scorers for Esh Winning are Nick Marley on 13 while vying for second spot are Joe Mole and Max Stoker who have six each although the latter has one of those from the penalty spot. For Birtley, Joe Barwick is miles out in front on 20 goals which includes two hat-tricks in his previous four games.
The match kicks off at 7:30pm and the postcode for West Terrace is DH7 9BQ. Esh have an average home attendance of just over 70 so we'd be appreciative of some away support if you're free.