WASHINGTON reached a cup final for the first time in three decades when they defeated Heaton Stannington in the Ernest Armstrong Memorial Cup, writes Malcolm Pratt.
Regular marksman Chris Winn slid the ball wide of goalkeeper Shaun Backhouse after only four minutes and he added a second goal on 35 minutes, taking advantage of a defensive mix-up.
The Tynesiders produced a second-half rally with goals by Jonathan Wright (pen) and Phil Smith but Paul Kane came up trumps for the Newtowners with a tremendous shot into the top corner of the net for the winning goal.
Washington survived the last 15 minutes with 10 men after having Aaron Croft red-carded.
Marske United progressed to the semi final of the Brooks Mileson Memorial Cup when they shocked in-form Guisborough Town, who went in front courtesy of Luke Bythway.
Jamie Poole, Austin Johnston, Craig Gott and Glen Butterworth replied and Marske now have their sights set on making it into the final which this year will be played at St James’ Park as part of the ENL’s 125-year celebrations.
H In the Ebac Northern League, Sunderland RCA remain sixth from bottom in the Ebac Northern League First Division after losing by an only goal to Penrith, who started the game one place and a point ahead of the Wearsiders.
The outcome was decided in the 19th minute when a long-range effort from Shaun Gardner beat goalkeeper Josh Carmichael.
RCA twice went near to equalising. Penrith goalkeeper Joshua Richardson made a splendid save from a Kallum Patton free kick and Gavin Barton had the ball in the net but the effort was ruled offside.
Spennymoor Town moved to second-top when they hit hapless Billingham Town with a 10-goal blitz at The Brewery field.
Liam Henderson rifled four goals, Gavin Cogdon and Wayne Phillips both bagged a brace with Chay Liddle and Chris Mason adding to the woes of the Teessiders who have now conceded 182 goals in 39 games.
There was further good news for Spennymoor Town when West Auckland Town, who are also challenging strongly for the championship, could only draw at Durham City.
In the end, it was a point won rather than two lost because the game was into added time before the visitors levelled with a Kris Wilkinson penalty, awarded after Stuart Banks had been brought down.
Wilkinson atoned for a slip in the 50th minute when a throw-in was sent in his direction. Scott Fenwick took advantage and quickly struck the ball past West goalkeeper Jordan Nixon.
In Division Two, there was no happy return for Birtley Town manager Paul Bryson and his assistant Stuart Sherwood who were both previously in charge of Chester-le-Street.
The Cestrians made a dream start when Craig Marron’s free kick from 30 yards flew past goalkeeper Jake Wilson.
Midway through the opening half, Damien Stephens doubled the lead with a header and in the second period Jake Stafford’s cross was converted at the far post by Stephen Telford to earn the Cestrians a comfortable 3-0 victory.
Thornaby were reduced to 10 men in the first minute at Whickham but it wasn’t because a player was red-carded.
They only had 11 men and when Craig Winter was injured they didn’t have a substitute. In the 66th minute Ricky Phillips was sent off leaving Thornaby to play the last 24 minutes with just nine players.
Chad Collins and Stephen Aiston fired Whickham into a two-goals cushion and late in the game Mark Fitzpatrick struck twice in a 4-0 victory.
Alnwick Town gained a valuable point as they bid to avoid ending in the bottom two. Tony Brown converted a sixth-minute penalty and it wasn’t until the 75th minute that sixth-top Norton and Stockton Ancients drew level with a header by captain Michael Jameson.