WHAT a difference a week can make!
Washington looked down and out at the bottom of the Ebac Northern League Second Division, but, in the space of five days, they have gained six points, scored nine goals and conceded only one.
Last night’s impressive 5-1 rout of Esh Winning moved them to third from the basement and their goal difference has also been significantly improved.
Stephen Bogie gave the Newtowners a dream start and James Fairley added a second goal before Michael Young threw Esh a lifeline.
But any hopes the home side harboured of getting back into the game were rudely shattered when they leaked two goals in three minutes to Bogie and Nathan Johnson.
Right at the end, Fairley was again on target to complete another excellent result for Washington.
Esh have slipped to second from bottom and Ryton and Crawcrook Albion remain entrenched at the basement after they could only manage a point in their home fixture with Chester-le-Street.
Anthony Healer fired the Cestrians in front and Leigh Shickle levelled with a clinical finish from outside the penalty area on 78 minutes.
It looked as if John Honour had won the game for Chester with his 93rd-minute strike, but, amazingly, there was still time for Callum Turnbull to convert a penalty to haul Ryton level two minutes later.
Birtley Town lost ground in their challenge for one of the three promotion places when they went down to third-top Northallerton Town.
Following a goalless opening half, Colin Anderson tapped in the home side’s opener, but Leon Watson prodded in the equaliser a minute later.
With just another couple of minutes to go, Danny McLachlan restored the advantage to Northallerton and Darren Kokes added a third goal before Danny Taggart reduced Birtley’s deficit with only a minute left.
West Allotment Celtic jumped into fourth place with a 4-3 victory over Tow Law Town following a cracking game.
Dean Thexton was a first-half scorer for the Lawyers before Sean Reid and Liam Hudson turned the tables in Celtic’s favour.
Robert Hurton restored parity for Tow Law, but their hopes of a point were dashed with only two minutes remaining, when Michael Bell struck Celtic’s winner from a tight angle.
There’s no change at the top of the First Division after the three leading sides all drew.
Leaders Shildon were second best against third-placed Celtic Nation, for whom Johnny Allen cancelled out Mark Doninger’s first-half strike. The Cumbrians were desperately unlucky not to secure victory, hitting the woodwork on several occasions.
Second-top Spennymoor Town drew 2-2 at Newcastle Benfield, who had won their previous six games. Paul Brayson fired the Tynesiders in front before a brace from Dan Taylor had Jason Ainsley’s side in the ascendancy.
The equaliser was created by Stephen Baptist, who ran 50 yards before crashing a shot against the post. Brayson’s follow-up was cleared off the line, but player-manager Stephen Bowey made no mistake from close range.
Despite building up a two-goal lead inside 24 minutes courtesy of Mike Roberts and Danny Johnson, Guisborough Town had to be content with a share of the points at home to third-bottom Morpeth, whose marksmen were Michael Chilton and Stephen Forster.
Morpeth played the last 22 minutes with 10 men following the dismissal of Michael Hall.