Northern League: Two off as Esh Winning miss chance to boost gap to drop zone

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Esh Winning missed the chance to take a big step towards safety at the bottom of the Ebac Northern League Second Division last night.

They lost 1-0 to Thornaby last night to remain four points clear of Birtley Town in the fight to avoid the second relegation place, still with a game in hand.

James Rowe’s goal proved decisive. Esh’s Max Stoker and Thornaby’s Michael Joseph were simultaneously sent off in the 15th minute, and Esh went down to nine men late on when Adam Smith was red-carded.

Crook Town are safe from the drop but were pleased to beat Whickham 3-1 thanks to Andrew Wright, Nick Marley and Callum Johnson. Sam Aiston had given the Glebemen an early advantage.

Stokesley SC will be relegated, but they managed only a third win in 39 attempts, defeating Northallerton 2-0 courtesy of Chris Horsley and Ben Jackson.

In the First Division, FA Vase finalists Morpeth Town moved within a point of second-top Marske United after beating Newcastle Benfield 2-1 with goals from former Sunderland reserve-teamers Keith Graydon and Sean Taylor, either side of a Dan Taylor leveller.

Shildon are favourites to clinch the title and if they defeat Marske United at Billingham Town’s ground on Saturday, it will be just be about all over for the challengers.

Guisborough Town thumped Newton Aycliffe 6-2 as Dan Mitton, Danny Earl, Steve Snaith, Curtis Round, Connor Smith and Peter Bulmer netted. John Campbell hit both replies.

Relegated Norton and Stockton Ancients led Ashington with a Thibault Charmey penalty but succumbed 3-1 as Ben Harmison (2) and Andrew Johnson struck.