SUNDERLAND RCA failed to halt Newcastle Benfield’s challenge for the STL Northern League championship when they met at Meadow Park last night but it was not until the final 10 minutes that the Tynesiders went ahead, writes Malcolm Pratt.
They trailed from the 23rd minute when Harrison Davies produced a good shot wide of goalkeeper Andrew Grainger.
Adam Rowntree equalised a minute into the second period but it took an 80th-minute penalty by Paul Anthony to give Benfield the lead for the first time.
RCA pushed players forward in a bid to level and left the way open for Rowntree and Shaun Bell to score in the last two minutes and complete a 4-1 victory.
Dunston UTS’s bid for promotion received a setback at Ashington who arrested a losing sequence.
Steven Preen went close for UTS and Scott Blandford was only just off target at the other end before the deadlock was broken six minutes from the end.
A cross by Johnny Wightman was handled by Michael Dixon and Phil Bell blasted the penalty wide.
Tow Law Town defeated out-of-luck Ryton 3-1 but needed the assistance of two own goals.
Ryton, who have claimed just three points and conceded 114 goals in 27 games, shocked their hosts when Daryl Lucas delivered an excellent left-foot shot.
On the stroke of half time a free kick from John Hewitson rebounded off the crossbar and struck Ryton goalkeeper Alexander Curran on its way into the net.
Skipper Chris Arnott then turned an attempted clearance from a Hewitson corner into his own goal on the hour and Ryton’s hopes of an upset finally disappeared as Luke Parkinson headed home.
In Division Two, Chester-le-Street moved into the top half of the table with a 4-2 victory over Darlington RA at Chester Moor Park.
Michael Barnett slid the ball into the net after a cross had been parried by Cestrian goalkeeper Kyle Barker.
Ben Johnson soon levelled and Nicky Kane headed the home side in front before Garry Barnes restored parity from the penalty spot.
Two goals in as many minutes by Mark Davison earned the Cestrians their 10th win of the season.
Seaham Red Star have tasted success on only five occasions and remain in the bottom three following a 5-2 defeat by Team Northumbria, who climbed into fourth place.
Kevin Turns’ side suffered a double blow after 20 minutes. Stephen Jackson conceded a penalty for which he was sent off and Gavin Donoghue converted the spot kick.
Dean Critchlow doubled Team’s lead but Willie Crew raised the hopes of Seaham when he latched onto a bad back pass and rounded goalkeeper Andrew Jennison.
Seaham’s 10 men wilted on the heavy pitch and Team went five up through Jake Richardson, Mark Fenwick and Lee Scott before Jimmy Farrell claimed a second consolation goal for the hosts.
Whickham reached the Third Round of the Ernest Armstrong Memorial Cup with a last-minute winner from Chris Allen at Gillford Park who had led through Stephen Skinner and Michael Reed.
A Paul Cavanagh brace levelled the scores and after Carl King fired Whickham in front for the first time, Kelvin James equalised to set up an exciting finale.