El Coastico to El Chemico, lower-league derbies in the North East

Written by on 8th March 2024

From North Shields to Billingham, here are the North East’s ‘under the radar’ non-league derbies.

The North East is host to some great rivalries, with the likes of the infamous Tyne-Wear derby between Sunderland and Newcastle and the Tees-Wear Rivalry between Sunderland and Middlesborough.

With the Tyne-Wear derby happening last January for the first time in six years, many football fans sat eagerly to watch what they believed to be the return of the North East’s greatest fixture.

Drawing attention away from these, however, here’s our pick of some other matches sure to excite local fans.

“Gateshead-York rivalry”

An unlikely source due to the distance between the two, this rivalry has formed fairly recently, with a 2-0 win for York last time out in February. This fixture has hosted some entertaining matches, such as a dominant 3-0 win for ‘The Heed” last season and another win, this time a scintillating 6-1 win to name a few.

If York City manage to survive their relegation battle this season, be sure to bookmark this fixture next season to see a matchup that has all the potential to grow, with ex-Gateshead loanee Billy Chadwick set to face his former club once more.

“Darlington-Hartlepool derby”

The two teams may not have met one another in league form since 2007 but this fixture has been fought out more than a hundred times in what is by far one of the North East’s historic matchups. Hartlepool have slightly edged out their opponents, claiming the bragging rights 6o times over Darlington’s 57 wins.

Despite such a deep rooted fixture, Darlington’s financial issues saw their fall from grace, waving goodbye also to this fixture. However, with only one league separating the two sides, we just may see both teams battle it out once more and see a return to a much loved fixture.

“North-East derby”

The North-East derby is the name used for the rivalry between Blyth Spartans and Hartlepool United, despite the two clubs having not played very many league games against one another, some fans point to Blyth’s shock FA Cup upset when they beat the then league two outfit as reasons for an unlikely rivalry.

Hartlepool continue to tred water in the National League and with Blyth’s recent takeover, we just may see the two teams play against one another yet again quite soon.

“Darlington – Spennymoor rivalry”

The Darlington-Spennymoor rivalry is a fierce tie between both National League North outfits, their rivalry can be traced to the 2012-13 season when Darlington beat  ‘The Moors’ to the Northern League championship, with both teams staggeringly amassing over 100 points. Alongside this, a play-off win for Darlington over Spennymoor in 2015 added more flames to the fire.

With both teams now playing in the National League North for a while, there has been plenty of time for either side to have their bragging rights. This season Spennymoor have won both fixtures between the two sides, and with both teams seemingly set for National League North action once more next season this fixtures is not going anywhere for now.

“Billingham Derby”

The Teeside town of Billingham is host to two football teams, Billingham Town and Billingham Synthonia. A fixture some fans have called ‘El chemical’, as a result of the towns past in the chemical industry, Synthonia, whose name is also a tip of the hat to their chemical industry, currently play in the Northern League second division after being relegated in 2018. The club have recently suffered financial issues, resulting in them now playing in Stokesley, almost 15 miles away.

Their younger neighbours, Billingham Town have seen slightly more success in recent years, achieving promotion to the EBAC Northern League one in the 18-19 campaign however they were quickly relegated the following season following the league’s abandonment due to COVID.

Boxing Day hosted the latest edition of this fixture, Synothia seeing off the Town 3-1 and there is set to be another fixture between the two this season, with the match set to play on the first of April, could Town achieve revenge?

“Coast Road Derby”

North of the A1058, or as it is locally known, ‘Coast Road’ sits Heaton Stannington FC, they contest the ‘Coast Road derby’ with their southern neighbours Newcastle Benfield. Last time out in early February, Heaton were the toast of the tie, winning 1-0 against Benfield to claim the bragging rights and avenging their disappointing 3-2 Defeat earlier on in the season.

Newcastle Benfield are the younger of the two sides, only being founded in 1988 as ‘Brunswick Village FC’ later going on to be named ‘Heaton Corner House FC’ just one year later. The club claimed fame when Nolberto Solano became first team coach in 2012.

On the other side, The Stan have been a regular Northern League outfit in a deep, long-standing existence, being founded in 1910.

“Auckland Derby”

Southwest of Durham sits Bishop Auckland, a quiet market town, within this town sits two main football clubs Bishop Auckland FC and West Auckland Town. These two sides have played one another four times already this season, via an FA cup replay in which Bishop Auckland edged through 2-1 following a 0-0 draw the prior match. This victory would extend into the league, with Bishop Auckland claiming the bragging rights against their West counterparts, winning both times out in a dominant 4-0 display and a tight 2-1 win in early February.

‘The West’ have a deep history extending all the way to 1893, in their early years they famously beat future Italian-giants Juventus in the Sir Lipton trophy as well as Swiss-titans FC Zurich.

Bishop Auckland have also seen success, winning the FA Amateur Cup ten times, and the Durham Challenge Cup sixteen times alongside being Northern League champions on multiple occasions.

“El Coastico”

The ‘El Coastico’ is contested between North Shields FC and Whitley Bay. Previously in the Northern League first division, Whitley Bay stormed to a 7-2 win against The Robins in what was a highly anticipated fixture following a one-year break due to North Shields’ promotion. 

However, In the last 10 ‘El Coasticos’ North Shields have managed to beat their rivals seven times, there have also been no draws meaning this all-or-nothing tie has gone to Whitley Bay three times. 

There is however, set to be another fixture between the two this season, on April the first, North Shields will be looking to extend their recent dominance over their rivals and avenge their recent loss.

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