RESULTS could not have gone better for Washington last weekend and, with only four games to play, they are favourites to join champions Seaham Red Star in Division One of the Ebac Northern League next season.
“There were three cracking results when Team Northumbria, Norton and Stockton Ancients and Hebburn Town all conceded points,” enthused manager Steven Hutchinson.
“We were without a game and are now third, just two points behind Team North with a couple of games in hand – so it’s now in our own hands.”
The Mechanics begin a four-game run-in at Darlington RA before meeting rival promotion hopefuls Hebburn Town, Willington and Thornaby.
Hutchinson, though, goes into tomorrow’s fixture at Brinkburn Road without suspended pair Greg Swansbury and Mark Davison, while goalkeeper Neal Atkinson is another absentee.
In addition, Michael Coghlan and Mark Grant are doubtful.
Seaham Red Star still have five fixtures to fulfil, starting at home to bottom-of-the-table Brandon United. Mark Collingwood’s men are now looking to top the 100 points mark and are favourites to take all three tomorrow when nothing short of victory will consign their visitors to the wooden spoon.
Team Northumbria are still in the promotion mix but have only two fixtures left, starting at in-form Thornaby, who have moved into the top six impressive performances in recent weeks.
Easter is proving to be a problem for Team North since several students are away, but head coach Colin Stromsoy reports that he’ll still take a strong squad down the A19.
Norton and Stockton Ancients, in fourth place, meet Billingham Town this morning in the Teesside derby and boss Andy Campbell reckons they need nine points out of nine, and some help from their competitors, if they are to go up.
Tomorrow, Hebburn Town have home advantage over Chester-le-Street and, with games in hand on the three places above them, are in a good position to claim one of the remaining two promotion places.
Manager Scott Oliver anticipates a difficult game, especially as Chris Smith is definitely out and the availability of Alan Pegram and Josh Allen is unclear.
Callum Smith and Jack Quantrill, meanwhile, have moved to Wearside League club Harton and Westoe.
This will be the fourth meeting between the sides this season. The three previous matches all finished with a 3-2 scoreline with Hebburn twice coming out on top and the Cestrians once.
“Tomorrow’s game is of massive importance to Hebburn, but one thing’s for sure we’ll be trying to spoil the party,” said Chester boss Colin Wake.
“We’ve had three excellent games with them this season and I’m expecting another good match.” The Cestrians go without Ben Johnson, Kieron McDonald and Robbie Draper.
Ryhope CW, whose eight-match unbeaten sequence came to an end last week, host Ryton and Crawcrook Albion without defender Phil Hall, but James Cook comes into contention.