RYHOPE CW need just one point from the last two games to be crowned Wearside League champions for a second successive season, writes MALCOLM PRATT.
Martin Swales’ side just edged Cleator Moor Celtic by the odd goal in five last night to maintain a two-point lead over Redcar Athletic, who have only one match to play.
The game was not without its scares, though. Ryhope’s John Butler hit the crossbar from the penalty spot, but Jonny Davis quickly opened the scoring with a simple tap-in.
On the stroke of half time, Matthew Dickinson took advantage of a mix-up in the home defence to equalise, but, five minutes into the second period, Martin Metcalfe restored the hosts’ advantage.
Davis gave the home side a two-goal cushion before Darren Little claimed a second goal for the Cumbrians in the last minute.
Redcar Athletic’s title hopes are hanging by a thread despite their 2-0 derby win at Stockton Town, with Lewis Wood netting twice.
Stockton stay third, but Sunderland West End are just a point behind after they surprisingly hit Peterlee Town for six.
David Bond’s side made a dream start, scoring twice in a minute through Joe Walton and Adam McCullen.
Jamie Fryett and Gavin Dorwood made it four before Peterlee rallied to reduce the deficit, through Ash Davies and Daley Clark.
West End finished strongly, however, to make it 6-2, thanks to Stephen Bogie and John Coomber.
Silksworth Rangers finished second bottom, while Ashbrooke Belford House made certain of finishing outside the bottom six when they won the local derby3-2.
John Turvey gave Rangers an early lead, but Ashbrooke then stormed 3-1 ahead with goals from Stuart Burton, Michael Charlton and Lee Andrews.
The game was into added time before James Gilhespie hit a second for Silksworth.
Leam Rangers endured an 11th consecutive defeat, 3-2 to Annfield Plain, who ended with nine men. Plain’s marksmen were Mark Patterson, Aaron Robertson and Alan Robinson with David Conroy and Andrew Robson replying.
One-time leaders Willington signed off with a 4-0 victory at Wolviston, which should secure them fifth place. Mark Foster, Dean Hanson, Thomas Lazenby and Mitchell Soulsby all struck.