MANAGER Neil Hixon predicted that Sunderland RCA faced a potential banana skin in last night’s Ebac Northern League First Division game against bottom-of-the-table Newton Aycliffe – and he wasn’t far wrong, writes MALCOLM PRATT.
The visitors, with just one win and two draws from 14 games, made a dream start with Chris Hughes taking full advantage of a defensive blunder to leave goalkeeper Neal Atkinson helpless after just two minutes.
It took RCA some time to regain their composure, but they equalised after half an hour with a fine solo effort from Aristote Guerin-Lokonga.
Right on half-time, RCA’s Gavin Barton headed Gary Shields’ corner in at the back post, but Aycliffe proved to be the better team during the second 45 minutes, even though the best chance fell to Lokonga, who headed over the bar from a good position.
With time running out, RCA looked like holding on, but, in the last minute, captain Shaun Tarling hooked a shot wide of Atkinson for a dramatic equaliser.
Fellow strugglers Billingham Town and Durham City drew 2-2.
Craig Ellison, unquestionably the man of the match, produced a wonderful, 25-yard free-kick to beat Town keeper Danny Molyneux.
But Harrison Davies’s inch-perfect cross set up a simple equaliser for Micky Dunwell.
Early in the second half, Glen Butterworth rifled a penalty into the roof of City’s net, but, within a minute, Connor Winter strode through a static defence to equalise.
City hit both bar and post but failed to find a winner.
Whitley Bay’s winning run was abruptly ended by a 4-1 drubbing at Hebburn, who had Paul Wardle, Paul Gardner, James Luccock and Stephen Forster on target before Tony Stephenson replied.
Ashington outgunned 10-man Newcastle Benfield 3-0, courtesy of Marc Walton (2) and James Taylor, while Dale Burrell and Ben Cattanach earned Dunston UTS a 2-1 win over Bedlington Terriers, Stephen Baptist responding direct from a corner.
Jarrow Roofing won their twice-postponed FA Carlsberg Vase first round tie against Norton, with Anthony Myers netting.
CHRIS Winn was again in unstoppable form for Ryhope CW, who hit Birtley Town for six to extend their lead at the top of Division Two to six points.
Winn chalked up a hat-trick by the 38th minute and after John Butler added his name to the scoresheet, Birtley’s consolation came from a Craig Marron penalty.
Winn took his personal tally to four and, in added time, Butler claimed his second and Ryhope’s sixth of the night. Martin Swales’ side have now racked up 67 goals in only 15 games.