Northern League: O’Neill at the double as Ryhope’s six of the best mauls Esh

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Ryhope CW hit Esh Winning for six on the opening day of the Northern League Second Division season to give Gary Pearson’s men the perfect start to the campaign.

Nathan O’Neill led the way with a well-taken brace for Ryhope at Waterhouses, with Stephen Oakley, Simon Ord, Matthew Weirs and Conor Winter also among the goals.

Anthony Phillipson managed a consolation for Esh when they trailed 3-0.

Ryhope will look to make it two wins out of two when they host Stokesley SC tomorrow night.

Stokesley succumbed to a heavy opening day defeat as Chester-le-Street found form on opening day. The Cestrians romped into a four-goal lead thanks to Michael Hepplewhite (2), John Honour and Andrew Grant Soulsby before Craig Winter cut the deficit.

But there was still time for Craig Winter to claim a fifth goal for Colin Wake’s team, which shows little change from last season but will be looking to make a big impression on the upper reaches of the table.

Easington Colliery’s return to the league was not a successful occasion as Whickham edged a 2-0 away victory over last season’s Wearside League runners-up, thanks to strikes by John Mordey and Steve Aiston.

Whickham host Chester tomorrow, while Easington entertain Crook – fresh from beating Heaton Stannington 2-1 – on Thursday.

Birtley Town also lost out on the opening day. The only goal at Billingham Town came on 85 minutes when Craig Lines beat keeper Dominic McMahon from the spot.

South Shields surprisingly lost 3-2 at home to Northallerton in their first league game back at Mariners Park, watched by a crowd of 417. Lee Scott, with a header from Wayne Phillips’ cross, and David Foley cut the deficit to one goal after the visitors stormed into a 3-0 lead.