THE season is barely six weeks old, but already the signs are looking ominous for anyone hoping to wrestle the Wearside League championship from Ryhope CW.
Nine straight wins have propelled Martin Swales’ team into pole position. No fewer than 38 goals have flowed and only five have been conceded.
Neighbours Silksworth Rangers produced a spirited performance in Saturday’s derby and had the chance to score first, but Dean Hannah’s penalty was easily saved by Neil Atkinson.
From then on Ryhope dominated, with Martin Hope (2), Martin Metcalfe and Greg Swansbury finding the net.
There was more good news for Ryhope with second-top Redcar Athletic’s defeat by much-improved Willington, for whom Reece Marshall scored the only goal.
Ashbrooke Belford House went down at Stockton Town, who sealed the points courtesy of Nathan Steele and Jair da Silva inside the opening 15 minutes.
Sunderland West End have made a good start during their first season in the competition and they made it five wins in seven at the expense of Wolviston.
Stephen Bogie and Anth Stubbs, who completed a superb move involving several players, netted in the opening half-hour, but when David Aninakwah reduced the deficit, an exciting final 20 minutes ensued.
Peterlee Town leaked goals to Darren Johnson and Dean Rogers, with a disputed penalty. Robert Huntley forced an outstanding save from Craig Devine but Johnson was again on target, leading Cleator Moor Celtic to a comfortable victory.
Boldon CA won a seven-goal thriller at Prudhoe Town by the odd goal. Chris Winn rifled a hat-trick, but still ended on the losing side as Kris Robertson (2), David Hopper and Graeme Matterson clinched the points for the South Tynesiders.
Willington are up to third and Jarrow are fourth after being held to a draw by Gateshead Leam Rangers.
Twice behind to goals by Chris Goss and Anthony Myers, Rangers hit back with strikes from Anthony Brewis and Leon Kane.
Danny Wilson, Craig Hutchinson and Johnny Bolton were Hartlepool’s matchwinners at Annfield Plain, for whom Chris Johnson bagged a brace of goals.
Darlington Cleveland Bridge moved into fifth when Daniel McLachlan and David Hookway (2) were their marksmen at Kirkbymoorside, whose only reply was credited to Sarjo Cham.