STL Northern League
by Malcolm Pratt
CHESTER-LE-STREET aim to take another step towards a top-six finish in the STL Northern League Second Division when they line-up against mid-table Northallerton Town at Chester Moor Park tonight.
The Cestrians are ending the season with a flourish and after scoring five times at Gillford Park last week, held champions Newton Aycliffe to a draw on Saturday.
“We played really well in the game with Aycliffe and twice led. With a bit of luck we could easily have taken all three points but it was still a good point,” exclaimed chairman Joe Burlison.
Manager Stuart Sherwood will need to check on the fitness of Craig Marron, Ben Johnson and Mark Davison but is hopeful of having a full squad to choose from.
Sherwood is stepping down at the end of the season after more than a decade in charge and the club expect to name his successor in the next few days.
Seaham Red Star dropped into the bottom three on Saturday and will not find it easy at Morpeth Town, who have improved in recent weeks.
The Craik Park side have won twice, including a shock win over promotion hopefuls Whickham at the week-end and are fighting to avoid the wooden spoon.
In Division One, Spennymoor Town can take another step towards retaining the championship if they defeat South Shields at Filtrona Park.
Jason Ainsley’s side are five points clear of Shildon, who desparately need to win at Dunston UTS if they are to achieve a top-five finish. Their hopes of pipping Moors have all but ended since they have played five games more than the leaders.
At the other end of the table, several sides are still battling it out to avoid joining Ryton and Esh Winning in Division Two next season.
Jarrow Roofing, who slipped to fourth from bottom at the weekend, host Bishop Auckland while Billingham Synthonia now look relatively safe ahead of their visit to Esh Winning.
H Whitley Bay reached the final of the FA Carlsberg Vase at the weekend but last night it was back to the bread and butter of attempting to pip Spennymoor Town for the STL Northern League championship.
Once again, Ian Chandler’s side rose to the occasion and a 2-0 win at Norton and Stockton Ancients with goals from Stephen Gibson and Brian Smith keeps them in contention.
The Seahorses are fifth and Newcastle Benfield fourth following their five goal romp over Tow Law Town.
Scott Fenwick bagged a brace with Phil Lumsden, Brian Dodsworth and Chris Feasey also beating overworked Lawyers goalkeeper Stephen Robinson.
Whickham’s chances of claiming one of the two remaining promotion places in Division Two receded with a 3-1 defeat at Gillford Park, whose marksmen were Ryan Errington (2) and Stephen Skinner. Carl Pennington claimed a consolation for the Glebemen.