Northern League: Ryhope CW on the march with six of the best

Warren Byrne scores his hat-trick goal for South Shields at Billingham Town. Image by Peter Talbot.
Warren Byrne scores his hat-trick goal for South Shields at Billingham Town. Image by Peter Talbot.
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On-song Ryhope CW hit Stokesley SC for six on Saturday to leapfrog Chester-le-Street into second place in Division Two.

They remain just six points adrift of table-toppers South Shields, with a game in hand on the Mariners.

Only four games in the entire league went ahead, all of them on Teesside, and Ryhope were delighted when the Stokesley ground was passed fit.

They had won seven games on the bounce and wanted to maintain the momentum they have built up.

By the interval, they were all but assured of an eighth consecutive victory.

By then, Gary Pearson’s side were five goals to the good and the result was a foregone conclusion.

Stokesley, bottom of the table with only one point out of a possible 63, did not help themselves when they conceded a penalty with only eight minutes gone.

Powerful striker Conor Winter made no mistake from the spot and he struck again before the half-hour was up

Any hopes the home side harboured of saving the game ended when they leaked three goals in the space of five pre-interval minutes.

Influential midfielder Nathan O’Neill fired past goalkeeper Jonathan Kinson for Ryhope’s third and his strike was quickly followed by goals from Damien Stevens and recent signing Kyle Davis.

The second half was a romp in the park for the Wearsiders, who put the icing on the cake late in the game as Stephen Francis completed a resounding 6-0 win.

South Shields are also in great form and they made it 19 successive wins in all competitions, seeing off the challenge from Billingham Town, who are a much better side this season than last.

Even so, they were unable to halt the Mariners’ challenge for the title.

The man of the match was Warren Byrne, who rifled a hat-trick. The home side trailed by three goals before Craig Hutchinson scored a consolation with only a few minutes remaining.

Byrne netted his first in the third minute. After Wayne Phillips’ shot was parried by goalkeeper Shaun Scotter, t broke to Byrne, who teased the sprawling Scotter twice as he showed great composure in the box before firing high into the net.

The second goal followed a period of pressure on 55 minutes when Paul Kane and Robert Briggs combined to release Leepaul Scroggins through the centre, and his inch-perfect ball to Byrne sent the 33-year-old clear tocoolly roll the ball home.

Kane and Briggs were both denied before Byrne finished Billingham off with his second hat-trick of the campaign. He picked the ball up outside the box on the right and diagonally dribbled his way past the defence before firing in a shotl. Scotter could not handle it, and the ball bounced before spinning into the net.

In the only other Second Division game to be played, Thornaby defeated Heaton Stannington with an only goal by Curtis Edwards.

Just one game went ahead in Division One and the outcome had consequences for both Shildon and Norton and Stockton Ancients.

Shildon remain second top, just a couple of points behind Morpeth Town, after they won 4-1 at a canter.

Skipper Dan “Bobby” Moore, with a brace, and Lewis Dodds had them three goals to the good before Thibault Charmey, who recently returned from a brief spell with Whitby Town, replied.

The railwaymen, though, quickly regained a three-goal cushion, with former Sunderland RCA man Kyle Fryatt making certain of all three points.

Shildon are now the division’s top scorers with 54 strikes and they have conceded only 21 – a statistic bettered only by Newton Aycliffe’s 16.

All but four of the 21 games in both divisions were called off.

Sunderland RCA had hopes that their fixture with Dunston UTS would be given the green light, but the referee decided that the match should be postponed because of the high winds.

RCA, meanwhile, have been rocked by a broken ankle sustained by Adam Drysdale, who has undergone an operation to deal with the problem.