THERE were more twists and turns last night in the battle for the Ebac Northern League championship, writes MALCOLM PRATT.
Shildon missed the chance to go top when they were beaten at home by fourth-placed Guisborough Town, who mathematically are themselves still in the race for the title.
Paul Connor had a couple of early chances for Shildon and Darren Richardson headed wide before Connor glanced in a header two minutes before the interval.
Early in the second half, top scorer Danny Johnson blasted the ball into the roof of the net for Guisborough’s equaliser and soon afterwards, a corner by Michael Roberts evaded everyone and found the net to put the visitors 2-1 up.
The Railwaymen hit back when Connor slipped the ball past goalkeeper Luke Coddington, but, in the last minute, Roberts fired home the winner for Guisborough, who played the last 10 minutes with 10 men after having Luke Bythway sent off.
FA Vase finalists West Auckland, playing for the third successive night, bounced back after losing on Tuesday and they, too, are still in contention for the title.
Stuart Banks chipped Newton Aycliffe goalkeeper Andrew Spence after only four minutes and, a minute into the second half, John Campbell pounced after the goalkeeper had blocked a Steven Richardson effort.
It was all over for Aycliffe, who are not safe from the threat of relegation, when Connor Lowes added a third goal three minutes from time.
In Division Two, Ryton and Crawcrook Albion could yet escape the wooden spoon and the possibility of relegation.
They won for only the sixth time, defeating Whitehaven 2-1 with strikes by Paul Basey and Mattie Fothergill. James Parker replied.
Ryton are now five points behind Esh Winning, who have played four games more.
Esh were involved in a 1-1 draw at third-bottom Brandon United, who led for more than an hour through David Harrison before Carl Beasley restored parity.
South Shields crashed 4-0 at Northallerton, for whom Colin Anderson and Christian Holliday both bagged braces.
Chris Hardy, with a hat-trick, and Aydan Bowers led Willington to a 4-1 victory at home to Thornaby, whose only reply was credited to Lee Mahon.
H Fifth-bottom Sunderland RCA will be safe from the drop in Division One if third-bottom Team Northumbria fail to beat visitors Ashington tonight.