September kicked in like a mule so with August already a memory I’m going to give you a bit of a monthly review of how things have went in the local non league scene.

I’m going to start in the Lowland League and Berwick Rangers who have been playing since mid-July so have had a bit more going on.

Berwick at their best/worst can be utterly frustrating but the season so far is littered with good and bad.

Rangers sit 6th and really that only tells half the story as they lie only 6 points off the top. They have done better than expected, no doubt, but it could have been a whole lot more.

7 games have been at home which maybe makes it look a bit skewed but a 5 goal win last weekend against Cumbernauld set them up for a midweek home game against Bo’ness which was very winnable.

They lost 1-0 and they could have gone third with a win. Earlier in the season they took four points from two games then lost to Gala and after two away wins, they lost at home again.

Glasgow Rangers’ B team will probably win the league but they can’t be promoted so a massive chance for anyone who can string results together to do that. Berwick are one of those sides but have to stop with the stupid scores. A little clue here – they won’t.

Back in England and the National League North and the big stories so far are Gateshead and Blyth.

It’s early days, Gateshead have only played three times and Spartans four, but the Tynesiders conceded an injury time own goal at Chester City last week stopped them having a 100% record.

Cedwyn Scott has already proved a hit after training with Newcastle United last year scoring twice against Kettering in a 3-1 win and they also edged out Guiseley on Bank Holiday Monday 2-1 with two from Macauley Langstaff.

The only downsize are the crowds which will forever be a problem. But on the pitch its going well.  Blyth would have been relegated if the season had ended for the last two years but they had a total revamp bringing in a lot of tried and tested players and it’s already been better. A hundred percent home record after 3-0 and 2-0 wins over Alfreton and Telford . Robbie Dale, of course, has a couple of goals. As has JJ O’Donnell.

Away from Croft Park might be an issue, a defeat and a draw might be the sign of things to come, but Blyth will do ok.

Darlington has had a nightmare start. Covid saw them not kick a ball until last Saturday and when they did, they’ve lost in both. Nearly two thousand watched the first game against Alfreton last week but they were 3-0 down before the hour. A late comeback saw it to 3-2 but 48 hours later they lost again at Curzon Ashton, 2-1. This league is tough and kicks you when you’re down – The Quakers are getting it now.

Spennymoor initially lived up to pre-season favourites billing but have since fallen away. A late winner gave them victory at Boston United’s new stadium before they edged out Southport 3-2 at home.

It’s gone weird since then though with two defeats over the holiday weekend. Two in a minute saw them lose at Leamington, while title favourites York grabbed a first win of the season on Monday at Brewery field.

The 3-1 win probably keeps Steve Watson in a job at York. It’s early days but it’s a strange league already.

In the Northern Premier League Premier Division, some things were predicted (South Shields top) others not (Morpeth second bottom)

Shields and Buxton are the early pacesetters and The Mariners had a great Bank Holiday weekend with a 4-1 win over Carlton Palmer’s Grantham, then a Monday cruise at the seaside at Scarborough.

The only blot on the copy book so far was an entertaining draw at home against FC United watched by over two thousand fans.

Expect Shields to stay near the top. Morpeth just haven’t got going. After having to start with three away games after the new fake pitch was installed, they lost them all comfortably.

They then played at home and lost 3-1 to Bamber Bridge. A first win did come at home v Atherton but even then they lost at Whitby on Monday. Not foreseen at all.

In the East Division it’s been a similar thing for Hebburn to Morpeth, who just  haven’t lived up to pre-season favourites billing, not yet winning a game after promotion.

Drawing one against Pickering but losing to Ossett, Stockton and Frickley. Shildon probably were not expected to be near the top but only a 0-0 draw at Stockton the only blemish from the first three games.

Stockton lie just outside the play offs.

Marske hammered Dunston 4-0 on Bank Holiday Monday and that spoilt a solid start for the Tynesiders. They have a bit of needle with Pontefract from years gone by so a 4-1 win would have been well received, away wins at Tadcaster and Benfield in the cup added to a goalless draw at Brighouse have saw an ok start , they just don’t like playing the other local teams as Shildon and Marske have shown.

The Northern League is up to nine games in and it’s as mad and unpredictable as predicted. If that makes sense.

One team who have enjoyed the unbelievably incessant nature of the games are Thornaby.

No one predicted the Teessiders at the start, but they sit on the top of the league after winning 5 and drawing 3 from 8 games played. Consett, the pre-season favourites came back from 2 down to draw with them last weekend, but are certainly not in full swing yet but looked best placed weirdly.

North Shields also tipped for promotion are unbeaten and look to be slowly gaining momentum but at home three draws have been frustrating.

Newton Aycliffe went and beat Consett to top the early table then lost to Seaham and Crook to undermine that, leaving Sunderland Ryhope to jump into the top 5 after winning their last 5 games.

Newcastle Benfield, Ashington and Whitley Bay have all shown that they could push the top four at times but have also looked like they could be stuck firmly in mid table.

Ashington unbeaten away but still not clicking and Whitley also suffering shock home defeats to Penrith and Crook after promising early games.

Both sides playing in front of 500 plus crowds as have Consett and Bishop Auckland. Bishops are the real story so far. They get the biggest column inches and it’s all bad so far as they’ve lost 6 out of 9 games.

West Auckland started off with 4 defeats but have won the next four so seem to have got over the usual early rustiness. West Allotment lie bottom but have shown enough to suggest they won’t stay there but the real achievement has been most of the games have been played so far.

Covid has stayed away to see some teams play 9 times since July 31. Tough on players who hadn’t played in 8 months.

Ryton and Heaton Stannington lie handily placed in a second division which separates 1st to 13th by six points. Those two might stay the course but a rejuvenated Billingham Synthonia and promoted Horden CW the early rivals.

In the Northern Alliance Premier Division, North Tyneside rivals Burradon and New Fordley and Killingworth shared 100% records at time of typing with Newcastle Blue star, who have scored 28 goals in 5 games with one defeat.

Surprise early front runners Winlaton join them with 4 wins from 5.

Its early days for most teams everywhere in the north east but already some excellent stuff has been played.

Welcome back everyone.

SCOTT ROBSON