RYHOPE CW are strong favourites to clinch promotion to the Ebac Northern League First Division during their first season in the competition.
Last night’s five-goal romp against Stokesley SC extended their lead over fourth-placed Darlington RA to a healthy 13 points – and they have two games in hand on their rivals. Martin Swales’ side are now eight points adrift of leaders Crook Town, having played three fewer games.
Stokesley were always up against it at Recreation Park once they had Philip King sent off in the 25th minute for a professional foul.
They paid a heavy penalty, conceding twice in the next 15 minutes to Martin Metcalfe and Chris Trewick.
It was just about all over for Stokesley as Michael Charlton made it three on the hour mark. Late in the gamem Charlton and John Butler took their side’s total to five goals.
Ryhope have now scored 118 times and their goal difference of 77 is 32 better than Crook Town.
In Division One, Sunderland RCA claimed a welcome win when out-of-sorts Hebburn Town went down by the only goal at Meadow Park.
A clever back-heel by Jamie Clarke enabled Gary Shaw to go on and slot the ball past goalkeeper Dan Regan, who, in the second half, saved from Aristote Guerin Lakonga and Shaw.
At the bottom, South Shields looked doomed following a heavy defeat by Dunston UTS at Filtrona Park.
The Mariners held out during the opening half but suffered a massive blow on 52 minutes with the dismissal of Barrie Smith.
UTS immediately took advantage scoring four minutes later courtesy of Stephen Shaw. Lewis Teasdale and Michael Dixon made it three before, in the 70th minute, Shields went down to nine men as Kenneth Ball was also shown red.
Matthew Fisher then added to the woes of the Mariners, who are 16 points behind Newcastle Benfield, the side currently just outside the drop zone.
Norton and Stockton Ancients are rock bottom, but Billingham Town are in with a chance of avoiding the drop after they won again, this time at Bedlington Terriers, who were fresh from scoring eight goals against Shildon on Monday.
They didn’t manage one last night as the Teessiders celebrated with strikes from Glen Butterworth and James Risbrough for a welcome 2-0 victory. Billingham are now only a point behind Newcastle Benfield.
Washington bowed out of the Second Division’s Ernest Armstrong Memorial Cup despite scoring first against West Allotment Celtic.
Michael Turner produced a wonderful shot after a great run which gave visiting goalkeeper Ryan Beall absolutely no chance.
Before the interval though, Tony Lancaster bundled in a right-wing cross for the equaliser and, late in the game, the Newtowners’ hopes ended as they conceded to Glen Ford and Dean Lee.
Lowly Esh Winning were well beaten in their tie at Darlington RA, whose marksmen were Steve Allison, with a brace, Jamie Smith and Jimmy Muir.
H Blyth Spartans lost 2-0 at Ashton United in the EvoStik League Premier Division, with Chris Amadi and Matty Burke notching in the second half.