HORDEN CW’s slim hopes of avoiding relegation from the Ebac Northern League Second Division were given a boost when rival strugglers Esh Winning went down to Chester-le-Street at Waterhouses last night.
The only goal came in the 49th minute when Shaun Smith did well to control a ball into the box before hitting a rasping shot into the top corner of the net, giving Esh goalkeeper Mark Bell, who had an outstanding game, no chance of a save.
In the dying minutes, only a superb stop by Chester keeper Matthew Crook denied David Harrison an equaliser.
With Alnwick Town already doomed, Horden will only avoid the drop if they win their last two games and Esh fail to take a point from their final two fixtures.
Ryhope CW’s chances of pipping Crook Town for the championship wilted when the Millfield men defeated West Allotment Celtic 2-0 in their penultimate game.
Chris Wallace fired past Celtic keeper Robert Rogerson on 11 minutes and, just past the hour mark, Ian Maddison was also on target. Crook now have an eight-point lead over Martin Swales’s Ryhope men, who have two games in hand.
The First Division game between Celtic Nation and Bishop Auckland erupted in the last four minutes when four players were dismissed.
The Cumbrians had Stephen Skinner, Graeme Anthony and Tyran Taylor red-carded and Bishop’s Dale Jardine also received his marching orders.
After taking a two-goal lead by the interval, courtesy of Michael Reed and a 25-yard free kick by Lee Hoolickin, the Cumbrians were pegged back. Following Jardine’s close-range strike, prolific marksman Andy Johnson levelled with five minutes remaining.
Bedlington Terriers, who for half the season competed with the best, have experienced lean times recently, but they bounced back to form with a 5-2 mauling of out-of-sorts Hebburn Town.
Paul Brayson (2), Martin Brittain, Phil Bannister and Mark Doninger swept their side into a five-goal lead before Dean Nicholson twice replied.
Relegated Norton and Stockton Ancients were also hit by a five-goal blast at Guisborough, where they failed to respond. Michael Roberts rifled a hat-trick with Danny Johnson and Jamie Poole also on target. The best goal of the five was the last one by Roberts which took Guisborough’s total in league and cup to 100.
Jarrow Roofing lost their Ernest Armstrong Memorial Cup when they went down at Northallerton Town.
Richie McLoughlin’s team made a dream start, scoring in the first minute when Josh Allen took advantage of a defensive blunder.
Midway through the opening half Adam Emson set up Micky Dunwell for the equaliser and Roofing’s hopes received a jolt midway through the second period when Colin Anderson and Emson netted within the space of a couple of minutes.