Ryhope joy ... for now

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RYHOPE CW celebrated clinching one of the three EBAC Northern League Second Division promotion places with a draw at Alnwick Town last night – but their future remains in doubt.

Because they didn’t complete improvements to their facilities by the deadline date of March 31, their fate is now in the hands of the FA who will consider a report from the ENL management committee.

Last night, though, was a time to celebrate and during their first ever season in the competition, they cannot now be caught by other teams challenging for a top-flight place next season.

Regular marksman John Butler gave Martin Swales’ side a dream start, driving past Alnwick goalkeeper Brian Brooks after just nine minutes.

With only five minutes left on the clock, substitute James Jackson headed in a corner to rescue a point for Alnwick, who remain second from bottom.

Horden CW are at the basement, three points adrift of Alnwick with a game in hand. The Colliers’ long losing sequence was finally ended at Birtley Town where they claimed all three points.

On the hour mark, Andrew Lonsdale headed wide of goalkeeper Andrew Hunter who was beaten again with a long-range effort from Ashley Gilhespy.

Brandon United enjoyed an unexpected 2-1 success at Tow Law Town thanks to goals from Scott Thompson and James Davidson. Alex Wilson had made it 1-1.

It’s so tight at the bottom of Division One that Penrith’s win at Team Northumbria lifted them from third-bottom to eighth from the basement, a point ahead of Sunderland RCA, who drop down to fifth bottom, now just a point outside the drop zone.

Ricard Faustino and Kevin Holliday had Penrith two goals up inside 15 minutes and although Peter Watling threw Team a lifeline on 62 minutes, the Cumbrians held on for three crucial points.

At the top, Spennymoor Town are still in with a chance of overtaking Darlington 1883 following victory in the local derby at West Auckland Town.

Jason Ainsley’s side, though, left it very late and they trailed until the 91st minute when they were awarded a penalty which Mark Davison converted.

Amazingly, there was still time for Davison to complete his hat-trick and a 3-2 victory for his side who had twice been behind.

Mattie Moffat fired home on 24 minutes and after Davison levelled, John Campbell restored West’s lead with a 78th-minute spot-kick.

Shildon eased past Hebburn Town by the odd goal in five. Sam Garvie bagged a brace and Mark Hudson also scored with Dean Nicholson and Lee Harrison replying for the South Tynesiders.

H It hasn’t been a good couple of days for Sunderland RCA with results going against them.

Ahead of tonight’s game with Consett at Belle Vue Park, the Wearsiders are now fifth from bottom in the Ebac Northern League First Division, just a point outside the drop zone although they do have two games in hand and a better goals difference than Billingham Town.

Even so, they desperately need a win but won’t find Consett easy.

Newton Aycliffe host Ashington, while Norton and Stockton Ancients will be relegated if they fail to defeat Bedlington Terriers.

Darlington 1883 meet Bishop Auckland at Heritage Park while Whitley Bay, still in with a chance of finishing third, will need to win at Celtic Nation to strengthen their challenge.

In Division Two, Morpeth Town go to Esh Winning, while Jarrow Roofing are third-top before they take on North Shields, whose promotion prospects have ended following a poor run of results.