Easington gunning for runners-up spot in the Wearside League

Easington Colliery (green/white) take on Horden CW in a recent clash

Easington Colliery (green/white) take on Horden CW in a recent clash

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THE three-team battle for the runners-up position could go right to the wire.

Only a single point separates Easington Colliery, Horden CW and Cleator Moor Celtic although Horden have played four more games than their rivals.

Ahead of tomorrow’s visit from Sunderland West End, Easington sit second behind champions-elect Stockton Town and manager Paul Frame and his assistant Craig Parkinson will be looking for another three points.

The good news for Easington is that Gavin Nesbit came through unscathed when he made his come back last week following a year out with a broken leg.

Adam Drysdale, Brett Gillatt, Jordan Thompson, Chris Pearson and Kevin Humble who all missed last Saturday’s fixture also come into contention.

Horden CW are behind their neighbours only on goals difference and at Redcar Athletic manager Keith Brown claims it is a “must-win” match.

He said: “Redcar are a very good side so we’re expecting nothing less than a stern test at Green Lane. I want to finish the season strongly and hopefully end in second position.”

Michael Cain, Ryan Brymer, Steven Hockaday and Robert Hammond return but Brown has concerns for the availability of Michael Pattison, Paul Moss, Andrew Lonsdale and Chris Freeman.

Until recently, Redcar were also competing for the runners-up position but after taking just one point from the last 15, have slipped back to sixth from top.

Their chances of ending an unsuccessful sequence are not good since Lee Blackburn, Jamie Lee and Sam Webster are banned.

Cleator Moor Celtic, in fourth spot, have a free day.

Ashbrooke Belford House are comfortably placed in mid-table before hosting Spennymoor Town Reserves at Silksworth Welfare Park.

Captain Mark Green is on the injured list and Kieron Stoke will need his fitness assessed before kick-off but joint manager Asa Dobbing names Lewis Hutchinson and David Scott in the squad.

Neil Charlton again misses out through injury for Spennymoor, who welcome the inclusion of Connor Dunlavey and Ross Hunter.

Silksworth CW travel down the A19 to Wolviston unable to call upon Michael Brunning and James Heptinstall.

Ace marksman Liam Gill scored when he came off the bench on Wednesday and, providing he is now fully fit, will be in the starting line-up.

Manager Scott Cameron also has Ross Stead, Neil Jones, Stephen Bagshaw, Leon Simpson and Michael McBain available.

Second-bottom Wolviston are hoping to extend a mini unbeaten run and they will have Ryan Hodgson in goal.

Nathan Summersgill and Dwaine Brown are also on the teamsheet, but Christian Selby is sidelined.

Annfield Plain prop up the table and, following the 4-0 midweek defeat at Silksworth CW, are five points behind Wolviston, who have three games in hand.

The Plain are on South Tyneside for their game at Boldon CA and manager Keith Sheardown is looking to sign several players for the run-in.

He has already brought in Jamie Henderson from Birtley Town and he will be included in the squad.

Leam Rangers are third-bottom and, away to Jarrow, are boosted by the inclusion of defenders Terry Cairns and Kyle Fletcher, together with strikers Brodie Simpson and Anth Huddart, who were all working last Saturday.

Harton and Westoe could name their strongest line-up. Aaron Farrell is their only injury doubt at home to Hartlepool who this week signed young striker Kallum Wood. He was released by the Hartlepool United Academy and will be involved in the last six games.

Stockton Town’s relentless surge towards a third successive championship shows no signs of weakening although they will be wary at Whitehaven since, despite their phenomenal form, they have never won in Cumbria.

The Teessiders command a 14-point lead at the top, having scored 112 goals and conceded just a miserly 12 in 28 games.