SUNDERLAND RCA were last night knocked off the top of the STL Northern League First Division by West Auckland Town, but they will take comfort from the fact that their nearest rivals managed just one point at home to South Shields, writes Malcolm Pratt.
Despite gale-force conditions, the sides produced a 10-goal feast and at one stage the Mariners were on course to cause an upset.
Early in the second period, they led 5-1 courtesy of a first-minute own goal from Daryl Hall, a David Colvin hat-trick and a penalty by Lee Bell.
Michael Wray had equalised for West whose magnificent second-half rally was spear-headed by substitute Martin Young.
He rifled a hat-trick in the space of 18 minutes and three minutes from time, Mark Stephenson headed in a equaliser at 5-5.
West Auckland have a one-point advantage over RCA, who were also cheered by the news that third-top Whitley Bay had to settle for a point in a goalless draw at Marske United.
Dunston UTS moved into third place with another excellent performance when they defeated Ashington 2-0.
Anthony Hume scored and a minute before the interval, Hume was the provider for Michael Dixon to double his side’s lead.
UTS were forced to substitute goalkeeper Josh Carmichael with Andy Clark for the second period and he comfortably dealt with an Ashington onslaught.
Jarrow Roofing appeared on course for three crucial points when they led Billingham Synthonia until the 88th minute.
Tony Thirkell gave Richie McLoughlin’s side the lead which they held until Michael Jameson struck two minutes from time.
Roofing suffered a massive blow deep into stoppage time as Jamie Blyth clinched a dramatic winner for the Teessiders.