RYHOPE CW are closing in on the Ebac Northern League Second Division title after another comprehensive victory at Ryton & Crawcrook Albion last night.
Ryhope are only five points behind leaders Crook Town with two games in hand following their 3-0 success.
Martin Swales’ side made a dream start, taking a second-minute lead when prolific marksman John Butler got between a defender and goalkeeper John Mordey and netted from close-range.
Another hour elapsed before Nathan Johnson fired home from outside the penalty area, then, 10 minutes from time, Butler was again on target with a clever overhead kick.
Jarrow Roofing are third, now just five points in front of Darlington RA after losing the top-four contest 1-0 at Brinkburn Road.
They were close to a point, though. With only a minute left, Roofing keeper Jonathan Carmichael parried a shot but only into the path of Jordan Hanratty, who drove in from a narrow angle.
Morpeth Town, with games in hand on the four teams above them, are also in a challenging position and they enhanced their prospects by thumping relegation-threatened neighbours Alnwick 4-1.
Paul Dunn headed the Craik Park side into a fifth-minute lead and Stephen Anderson converted a penalty 50 minutes later.
Alnwick quickly replied with an own goal, but Morpeth finished strongly with Anderson and Dunn both again on target.
Seaham Red Star are now just about out of the reckoning after losing 2-1 at West Allotment Celtic, where they led for 70 minutes through Craig Malley’s strike.
Sean Reid’s header on 73 minutes was adjudged by the assistant referee to have crossed the line, then, five minutes from time, Dean Lee had a simple tap-in for Celtic’s winner after being set up by Chris Douglas.
Horden CW’s woes at the bottom continue after they lost 4-1 to Northallerton.
Michael Dunwell and Colin Anderson had the visitors two up by the 53rd minute, but Darren Atkinson converted a penalty, after he had been brought down, to pull one back. Almost immediately though, Horden conceded two goals in a minute to Dunwell, who completed a hat-trick.
North Shields lost again and have blown their promotion chances. Scott Thompson and Dan Wilson were Tow Law’s matchwinners in a 2-0 away triumph.