West Auckland close in on top spot in the STL Northern LEague

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WEST Auckland strengthened their challenge for the STL Northern League First Division leadership with another excellent performance last night, writes MALCOLM PRATT.

At the weekend they inflicted a first defeat on Sunderland RCA and Dunston UTS suffered a similar fate on Tyneside.

Dunston though made a dream start when goalkeeper Shaun Newbrooke brought down Andy Bulford who stepped forward to convert the penalty.

West hit back with an own goal from Michael Robson who was unfortunate to turn a Stuart Banks cross wide of goalkeeper Liam Connell.

Mattie Moffat seized on a defensive error to fire the visitors in front and just before the interval, Stuart Banks tapped in to complete a 3-1 victory.

West Auckland are now second, only a point behind RCA with a game in hand on Neil Hixon’s side.

Jarrow Roofing went down by two goals to Newcastle Benfield. Jamie Marshall slid the ball into his own net after 42 minutes before being red-carded in the 75th minute. Shortly afterwards Lewis Teesdale just about made sure of the points for Benfield.

Tow Law remain second bottom with just one win in 14 games but they were unlucky to lose at Penrith who didn’t inspire.

Mark Nixon was an early scorer for the Lawyers and after Grant Davidson equalised, Martin Coleman rifled in the winning goal to earn the Cumbrians their fourth win in 11 attempts.

Birtley Town reached the second round of the Brooks Mileson Memorial Cup when they defeated Thornaby 3-1 on penalties.

Ian Clark gave the Teessiders a 40th-minute lead but within a minute Craig Marron restored parity from the penalty spot.

There were no further goals following extra time and Birtley went through as Andrew Grant Soulsby, Ricky Fenwick and Kevin Dixon converted penalties.

Two grounds were hit by floodlight failures. Only five minutes play was possible at Meadow Park between Sunderland RCA and Guisborough Town while the fixture at Filtrona Park between South Shields and Whitley Bay didn’t get under way.

H Easington Colliery manager Andy Colledge misses a trio of players for tonight’s Brooks Mileson Memorial Cup tie at home to Whitehaven.

Simon Todd, Dan Flounders and Craig Tarn cannot play but he is able to name David Doughty and Callum Sweeney.