Northern League: RCA rocked by late, late Norton stunner

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Sunderland RCA suffered a surprise setback with last night’s Ebac Northern League First Division defeat away to bottom club Norton and Stockton Ancients.

Norton still have a lot to do if they are to avoid being relegated, but they secure a big morale boost with three points agains the Meadow Park men.

The Wearsiders – sitting comfortable in mid-table – started firm favourites but were rocked when they conceded two goals in the first half hour to Nicky Martin (pen) and Alex Nelson.

Early in the second period, poor defending allowed Wayne Buchanan to cut the deficit and, in the 76th minute, RCA’s Liam Hatch equalised when the home defence was again caught napping.

With the minutes ticking down, a draw looked the likely outcome, but, in the last minute, Ryu Williamson beat goalkeeper Jordan Harkess for Norton’s dramatic winning goal.

Norton remain firmly entrenched at the bottom, now four points adrift of Bedlington Terriers, who also caused an upset.

They held in-form Bishop Auckland to a 2-2 draw and will be kicking themselves at leaking a two-goal cushion built up by Liam Hudson and Jonathan Wright.

Andrew Johnson threw Bishops a lifeline and, before the interval, Arjun Purewal headed in the equaliser.

Shildon go marching on at the top and now enjoy a 13-point lead.

They easily saw off the challenge from Newcastle Benfield, winning 4-0 with strikes by Billy Greulich Smith (2), Michael Rae and Ben Wood.

The Railwaymen have now racked up 99 goals – 30 more than second-best Seaham Red Star. Just as significant is the fact that they’ve conceded only 27 times, which is the best defensive record.

Chester-le-Street are back up to third place in Division Two – two points above Ryhope CW, who have three games in hand – after defeating basement side Stokesley SC 3-0, thanks to first-half goals by Craig Nichol (2) and Scott Heslop.

Team Northumbria slipped up in their promotion challenge when held to a 1-1 draw at Brandon United for whom Reece Marshall cancelled out Stephen McCarthy’s first-half effort.

Lewis Burns, Ryan Bailey, Adam Rowntree and Shane Jones were Heaton Stannington’s matchwinners in a 4-0 romp at home to Ryton and Crawcrook Albion.

Whitley Bay swept past Second Division Esh Winning in the Cameron Brewery Brooks Mileson Memorial League Cup quarter-final.

Adam Shanks (3), Stuart Bramley (2), Ashley Davis, Hylton Laws and Josh Day shared eight goal for Ian Chandler’s First Division strugglers.

Esh’s only reply was an Adam Ward penalty.