Northern League: Chester-le-Street close the gap to leaders Shields

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Chester-le-Street reduced South Shields’ lead at the top of Division Two to eight points with a 3-1 win at Billingham Town on Saturday.

Taylor Sterling-Sharp cancelled out Ben Johnson’s early strike for Chester.

Although Joe Hamblin restored the Cestrians’ advantage at Bedford Terrace on 35 minutes, it wasn’t until Michael Peck powered in a header seven minutes from time, that the visitors could relax.

Shields’ game at Easington Colliery was among a raft of postponements.

This is only Billingham Synthonia’s second-ever season in Division Two and, following a slow start to the campaign, are looking a good bet for an immediate return to the top flight.

Their strength lies in defence and, after not conceding at bottom club Stokesley SC, they have leaked a miserly 11 goals in 17 games.

A man-of-the-match performance by former Seaham Red Star boss Sonny Andrews, who scored all the goals, swept the Teessiders to an emphatic 4-0 victory and into third place – their highest rating so far this season.

Darlington RA leap-frogged Ryhope CW, whose home clash with Northallerton bit the dust, into fourth spot when they went nap at home to Esh Winning, whose only marksman was Ben Clark.

Hat-trick hero Jim Wilson was joined on the scoring charts by Liam Browne and Sam England.

Birtley Town stay fourth from bottom after losing 3-1 at Willington, who were only behind them on goal difference.

Despite taking a third-minute lead courtesy of Ryan Bell, Birtley suffered a 12th defeat when they conceded to Corey Nicholson, Lewis Milner and Reece Brown.