WHEATLEY Hill WMC are finishing the season in fantastic form.
Wheatley are fifth going into their final two matches, with the chance of a fourth-place finish in their sights, following impressive victories over Murton and former championship challengers Wallsend Town.
Last Saturday, they kicked off with only nine players yet were still able to reach half-time 2-0 up on Murton.
Wheatley got to full strength at the interval, yet Murton got a goal back, through Kyle Morris, before the home side went 3-1 ahead.
Russell Blenkinsop made a superb penalty save to deny Murton a second goal, but he was beaten by Morris to give the visitors a lifeline. Hill, though, sealed the deal with a Philip Hickman wonder goal from 25 yards to complete a 4-2 victory.
Jonathan Davies, Ian Watson and Lee Smith also netted for Wheatley, whose star man was defender David Trenholme. Ryan Chambers stood out for Murton.
Then, on Wednesday, Hill stunned third-top Wallsend Town with an incredible 8-3 away triumph.
Ian Watson had a night to savour, bagging four goals, backed by doubles from Mason Hudson and Lee Westgarth, as Wallsend, who had Paul Bell sent off, buckled.
Derek Graham (2) and Connor Brown struck for the well-beaten Tynesiders, who brought up their century of league goals.
Coundon & Leeholme grabbed two more wins to move closer to the championship.
Liam Whitworth and sub Connor Hughes both struck doubles as Coundon eased to a 5-0 triumph against Bishop Auckland Reserves on Monday.
Connor Lowes also netted, with Scott Oldfield and Tom Illey the respective star men.
Two nights later, Ebchester Consett Reserves were sunk 4-0, with keeper Martin Havery man of the match for the beaten visitors.
Unbeaten Coundon, with five games to play, are two points clear of Horsley Hill, who have just two matches left.
On Monday, Horsley Hill cruised to a 7-0 victory at Birtley, with five-goal Levi Collins leading the way.
Phil Gray and Dan Nolan also scored, with Jonathan Swift the star man in vain for the hosts.
Shildon Reserves twice came from behind to win 4-2 at second-bottom Birtley.
Thomas Illingworth fired Birtley in front, after good closing down by Marc Wood on the visiting keeper, but Craig Mountain’s well-worked strike levelled it up.
Adam Hart restored the lead with a clinical finish after excellent build-up play, but Mountain again rallied the Railwaymen. Both sides had chances to lead 3-2 before Shildon struck twice in the final three minutes, Andrew Smith capitalising on a goalkeeping error and Mountain completing a tremendous hat-trick.
Bishop Auckland Reserves, meanwhile, scored an impressive 5-1 victory against Wallsend Town, never looking back after Shaun Pickford’s second-minute opener.
Lewis Dunn missed two glorious chances for Bishops, who paid the price as Wallsend’s Connor Brown hit an unstoppable 25-yarder into the top corner to level matters.
Bishops, though, bounced back in the second half, with Dunn striking twice before Liam Blighe and Shaun Pickford both scored with cheeky lobs to round off a deserved win. Connor McEvoy starred.
Sherburn Village WMC did just enough to defeat Brandon United Reserves in midweek, Scott Arnott scoring the only goal to seal a 1-0 win, with Daniel Rooney starring.
Hartlepool Reserves rocked high-flying Horsley Hill 3-0 to storm into the Washington Aged Peoples Trophy final.
Carl O’Sullivan made the breakthrough after a great move, played in by Karl Hammond, and Seb Turner made a great save to deny O’Sullivan a second.
Hammond doubled the lead before O’Sullivan converted a last-minute penalty, after being felled in the box, setting up a final clash with Coundon & Leeholme at Brandon United on Wednesday (7pm).