Mark Davison treble takes Neil Hixon’s men top of the STL Northern League

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SUNDERLAND RCA top the STL Northern League for the first time in more than two decades, writes MALCOLM PRATT.

The Wearsiders moved into pole position with a battling victory away to South Shields yesterday, following up Saturday’s crushing defeat of Ashington.

The Mariners, still without a point, were the underdogs at Filtrona Park, but they twice led Neil Hixon’s men, who had to work every inch of the way for a 3-2 victory.

Their man of the match was hat-trick hero Mark Davison, while Alex Benjamin and Tony Burnell struck for the home side.

RCA breathed a sigh of relief at the final whistle yesterday, as did Stokesley SC. They were hammered 15-0 on Saturday by Bedlington Terriers – possibly a league record defeat – but they held out for a goalless draw at home to Norton.

Remarkably, however, Stokesley, who had conceded 32 goals in their first four fixtures, held out for a goal-less draw.

Bishop Auckland drew 1-1 with Newton Aycliffe, who led with a tremendous effort from Paul Broom before Andy Johnson converted a penalty leveller.

After trailing to Penrith, Jarrow Roofing hit back to win 2-1, thanks to two goals in seven minutes from Dave Anderson and Dave Malloy.

Consett outgunned Tow Law 4-1, with Mattie Scott replying to Michael Mackay’s hat-trick and a Marc Walton strike, while Anthony Shandran’s treble and an Ian Graham effort for Bedlington Terriers shot down Ashington 4-1.

After drawing their first two games, Spennymoor have won the last three, though they had to wait until the 78th minute to break the deadlock against Shildon.

A goalbound header from John Alexander was punched clear by Craig Price, who was sent off and Alexander converted the resulting penalty.

Four minutes later, Alexander was fouled and he again beat goalkeeper Keith Finch from the spot. Craig Ruddy completed a 3-0 victory three minutes from time, moving Moors ominously into third place, behind RCA and Newcastle Benfield.

H Durham City produced a disappointing display in crashing 3-0 at Ossett Albion in the Evo-Stik League Division One North.

The home side, without a point from five games, never looked back after scoring twice in the opening half hour.

Former Sunderland player David Dowson and Billy Greulich-Smith both went close for City before they conceded a 26th-minute penalty, Richard Tracey sending James Winter the wrong way from the spot after he was fouled by Arjun Purewal.

The referee immediately pointed to the spot and Tracey sent James Winter the wrong way.

Worse followed for City three minutes later. Joe Smith turned his defender and his close-range effort was brilliantly saved by Winter only for Tracey to react quickly and fire the rebound into an empty net.

Ossett just about made sure of the points with a third goal from Tracey in a 64th-minute goalmouth scramble.

City had Dan Madden sent off for a second booking 15 minutes from time.

DURHAM CITY: Winter, Madden, Copeland (Ayre), Cutts (E Graham), Wilkinson, Arjun Purewal, Stephenson, Davis, Dowson, Greulich-Smith (Thompson), Amar Purewal.