Thoughts now turn to Hartlepool and this Newcastle United duo
With the Premier League and Football League seasons long finished, the attentions of most football fans has turned to Euro 2020 and the summer transfer window.
However, there is still one league in England in action, with the second promotion place from the National League and a place in League Two up for grabs.
With Sutton United promoted automatically after finishing top of the table, the next six teams went into the play offs.
The teams finishing second and third, in this case Torquay United and Stockport County go straight into the semi-finals.
The next four teams play in the quarter finals for the right to face either Torquay or Stockport.
After finishing in fourth place during the regular season, Hartlepool United bidding to make it back to the Football League for the first time since suffering relegation in 2017, which ended 96 consecutive seasons in the League system.
Attempting to achieve promotion with the help of one current Newcastle United player and another former Magpie playing a key role.
Lewis Cass, under contract at Newcastle United until the summer of 2022, has enjoyed an excellent loan period at the club as he got his first taste of senior football.
A versatile defender, comfortable playing at centre half or right back, Cass has made 34 appearances for Hartlepool in the National League and impressed with his consistent level of performance, which saw him secure a season’s extension at St James Park earlier this year
Cass had begun the season playing at right back but moved inside when Hartlepool confirmed the signing of former Newcastle United right back Jamie Sterry (pictured above).
Sterry was released from St James Park in 2020 having made just three league appearances. Unable to secure a contract with a Football League side, Sterry signed for South Shields in October. A class apart at that level, Sterry made only four appearances for Shields before catching the eye of Hartlepool United manager Dave Challinor and Sterry signed for the club in December.
He has been the model of consistency ever since, making 28 appearances and missing just two league games.
Jamie Sterry was excellent once again on Sunday, an exciting play-off quarter-final seeing Hartlepool beat Bromley 3-2, the visitors with former NUFC coach Andy Woodman in charge.
Hartlepool now face Stockport this coming Sunday (13 June), with progression to a play-off final to play for. Lewis Cass missed the win over Bromley with a hamstring problem and will also miss Sunday’s semi-final, the Hartlepool boss though saying he hopes to have the Newcastle United loan star available if they get to the final.
Whatever happens though, both Cass and Sterry can look forward to their future with confidence, knowing they have what it takes to make it in the challenging world of senior football.
The other National League semi-final play-off also has a Newcastle United connection. former NUFC players Kyle Cameron and Callum Roberts competing for a place in the final, as Torquay take on Notts County.
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