IT was a close call but Sunderland West End gained a measure of revenge for two defeats by Silksworth Rangers when they overcame their Wearside League neighbours by a single goal on Saturday.
Bottom-of-the-table Rangers, who have leaked 107 goals in 36 games, denied their high-flying opponents until the 65th minute when Adam McQuillan curled a shot from 25 yards past goalkeeper Joe Clayton.
Rangers’ modest target, with six games left, is to finish the season with a couple of wins and pass the 20 points total.
They are again in action tonight, with Kirkbymoorside on Wearside, and although Dean Smith returns, neither Michael Brunning nor Dean Hannah can play.
There was also just one goal at Kimberley Park on Saturday and unfortunately for Ashbrooke Belford House, it was scored by Prudhoe Town, who are ending the season with a flourish. Steve Foster beat the offside trap on 15 minutes and slotted past the exposed Ashbrooke keeper Brett Wilson.
Belford House travel to Darlington Cleveland Bridge tonight. Manager Tommy Dobbing hasn’t announced his squad but the Bridge have Luke Black, Ben Griffin and Lee Redpath sidelined. Martyn Stubbings, though, comes into contention.
The goals flowed for Peterlee Town at Harton and Westoe CW on Saturday. Richard Maughan headed in a free-kick after 10 minutes and Brett Gillat drove home on the half hour mark.
Harton hit back but were unable to reduce the deficit and their hopes ended as Callum Mordey fired in on 72 minutes. Three minutes later, Nick Doyle chipped goalkeeper Kevin Garrick for a fourth goal.
Four goals were also scored at Redcar Athletic, but Easington Colliery managed just one. They were first to score as Mark Taylor headed into his own net attempting to clear and the Colliers enjoyed the better of the first half but, just before the interval, Richie Playforth levelled following a fine move.
On the hour mark, Easington goalkeeper Graeme Pickering parried a shot from Playforth but only into the path of Stephen Thompson who tapped in from close-range.
Easington pressed in the later stages, but just before the end left the door open for Adam Cheung to wrap up the points. His deep cross from the right rebounded from the post and hit keeper Pickering before entering the net.
There’s no change at the top of the table when the three contestants for the title all won. Adam Pinkney scored the only goal for leaders Willington – who have clinched promotion back to the Northern League by guaranteeing a top-five finish – at Kirkbymoorside, but it was easier for Stockton Town on their visit to Leam Rangers.
Tom Atkinson, with a brace, and Tom Coulthard eased the Teessiders home at the Hilltop Ground and they remain 10 points behind Willington with two games in hand.
Richmond Town are third, 12 points off the top. They became the first side to score 100 goals when they hit Annfield Plain for six.
Plain scored first though courtesy of Ross Nicholson and it wasn’t until the 70th minute that Mark Simms equalised with the first of his four goals. In a frenetic finale, Callum Holbrook and Shaun Radford also struck and the Plain claimed a second consolation thanks to Joseph Johnson.
Coxhoe Athletic kept a clean sheet intact until the 80th minute at Cleator Moor Celtic before Josh Charlton scored the only goal, while Boldon CA hit back after conceding twice to Daniel McLachlan and Darren Richardson at Darlington Cleveland Bridge. Early in the second half, Tijan Kah reduced the deficit, but an equaliser eluded them.