SUNDERLAND RCA’s new-look line-up pleased manager Neil Hixon with what he described as ‘a fantastic team performance’ at Dunston UTS on Saturday.
He said: “There were two evenly-matched teams out there and I always thought one goal would win it. Fortunately we got it and we were able to successfully defend in the later stages which is not something we have managed to do.
“Hopefully, we’ve ironed out our defensive problems which have plagued us all season. I had four newcomers in the side and we looked a more solid unit.”
Dunston were enjoying a mini revival following a dismal start to the season, but the Wearsiders matched them all the way although it took an 82nd-minute penalty to win the game.
Nick Gibson was brought down and David Southern kept his cool to beat goalkeeper Liam Connell from the spot.
Number 13 proved to be unlucky for Spennymoor Town who for the first time failed to claim maximum points.
They were favourites at home to Celtic Nation but it was the Cumbrians who went in front on 53 minutes when Michael Reed took advantage of hesitancy in the Moor’s defence.
Mark Davison headed in the equaliser on 69 minutes before Celtic’s David Lynn was sent off in the 75th minute and in added time, the visitors went down to nine men when James Earl was also red-carded.
Jason Ainsley’s side now trail leaders Darlington 1883 by 11 points although they have four games in hand on the Quakers who maintained their winning form defeating Bedlington Terriers in a top three clash.
Captain Steven Bowie gave the Northumbrians the lead but Joe Tait, David Dowson and Leon Scott swept the Quakers to a 15th win in 16 games.
Recently appointed manager Adam Furness is still waiting for his first success with Durham City who are fourth from the bottom after losing at Shildon despite scoring first through Ricky Fenwick.
Danny Richmond levelled within a minute and Sam Garvie fired Shildon in front on 16 minutes but another 74 minutes elapsed before Robbie Briggs ended the hopes of the Citizens.
Whitley Bay made a disappointing start to the season but have come good and a fifth consecutive victory has propelled them to fourth-top. Paul Chow, Ashley Davies and Paul Robinson (pen) were the marksmen at Guisborough Town who levelled through Luke Bythway.
An 88th-minute goal by John Campbell earned West Auckland Town the points at Team Northumbria and Consett were successful at Newcastle Benfield where Andy Cuthbertson was the only marksman after just eight minutes.
Andrew Johnson, with a brace and Keiran Megran were Bishop Auckland’s match-winners against Marske United whose only success was credited to David Onions.
South Shields lost the bottom three clash at Billingham Town for whom Danny O’Brien and Nicky Martin found the net. Sean Sweeney replied for the Mariners who are now second from the basement, two points adrift of the Teessiders.
Newton Aycliffe prop up the table, five points from safety and their position would have been worse had not Tom Hinchley grabbed a 92nd-minute equaliser at home to Billingham Synthonia who led on the hour through Nathan Jameson.
Hebburn Town twice enjoyed the luxury of a two-goals cushion but had to settle for a point in a six-goals thriller with Norton and Stockton Ancients who replied courtesy of Anthony Hume, Peter Bulmer and Callum Brown. Tony Stephenson (2) and Liam McBryde found the net for the South Tynesiders.
In Division Two, Ryhope CW were denied maximum points for only the third time this season, by West Allotment Celtic, for whom Danny Lee and John Pendlebury cancelled out strikes by John Butler (pen) and Chris Winn.
Ryhope’s lead is now down to three points over Northallerton Town who defeated Chester-le-Street with goals by Grant Hickman and Wayne Gredziak.
Morpeth Town, the only unbeaten side, enjoyed a six-goals romp against Washington whose only reply was an own goal.
Eddie Dines, Ashley McAlpine (pen), John Fry, Chris Lunn, Stephen Anderson and Tom Wilson swept Morpeth to victory and into the top six.
The game at Welfare Park was held up for half an hour because of an injury to Birtley Town’s Luke Wilson who was taken to hospital by ambulance with an ankle injury.
At this stage Horden CW led courtesy of Andrew Upperton but Birtley hit back for Gary Bailes and Philip Temple to put their side in the driving seat. With only 11 minutes remaining, the Colliers were awarded a penalty for a foul on Darren Atkinson and Martin O’Riordan levelled from the spot.