RYHOPE CW’s hopes of pipping Stockton Town for the Wearside League championship are just about over after they conceded two points to Richmond Town last night.
Both goalkeepers were outstanding and it took a penalty in the 55th minute to break the deadlock.
The Wearsiders were awarded a spot-kick for a foul and Nathan O’Neil drove past Adam Cunningham.
Neal Bussey, who has been out injured for several weeks, celebrated his return denying the home side with several excellent saves but he was eventually beaten in the 70th minute as Wayne Thwaites headed home from a corner.
Ryhope are three points behind Stockton, who have two games in hand and the Teessiders now need a maximum of four points from four matches to retain the title.
Stockton could have taken another step towards the championship last night but their fixture at Prudhoe Town was postponed because of a waterlogged pitch.
H Sunderland RCA end the Ebac Northern League season against Spennymoor Town at the Brewery Field tonight and although Jason Ainsley’s side clinched the Ebac Northern League championship on Saturday, manager David Lee is expecting a touch challenge.
“The fact that they are now champions and promoted to the Evo Stik League will make no difference to them and they’ll want another win in front of their own supporters,” observed Lee.
The Wearsiders, who finish fifth-from-bottom, welcome back Andrew Brown and there is a chance that Ross Preston and Steven Baynes may be involved, but Wayne Henderson is a definite absentee.
Durham City manager Ian Chandler returns to his former club Whitley Bay, where he enjoyed 10 successful seasons before stepping down a few weeks ago and then taking over at New Ferens Park.
Chandler is looking for a win which will guarantee the Citizens eighth place.
Bishop Auckland host Dunston UTS in their penultimate fixture missing Glen Lane, who has returned to his parent club Celtic Nation after a loan spell at Heritage Park. Former Ryhope CW striker John Butler will need a late fitness test.
In Division Two, Washington will field a much stronger line-up for their last game against South Shields at Peterlee.
Almost an entire side was missing on Saturday when several players travelled with Humbledon and Plains Farm to Ewood Park, Blackburn for the FA Carlsberg Sunday Cup Final. Washington boss Stephen Hutchinson is also in charge of the Sunderland Sunday League champions and a number of players are involved with both clubs.
H West Auckland Town, who still have three games to play, edged to within a point of fourth-top Guisborough Town in the First Division with last night’s 3-0 victory at Team Northumbria.
Jonathan Gibson and John Campbell beat goalkeeper Andrew Jennison in the first half and Stuart Banks was a second-half marksman.