Northern League: Last-gasp Donaldson save makes crucial point for Easington Colliery

Ryhope CW (red) battle against Marske United in the Northern League last weekend.

Ryhope CW (red) battle against Marske United in the Northern League last weekend.

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Easington Colliery drew 1-1 at home to Durham City in a crunch top-of-the-table Second Division clash last night.

Bradley Hird fired in direct from a free-kick from 20 yards to give fourth-top City a 23rd-minute lead.

But Reece Kenney equalised for fifth-placed Colliery, 10 minutes later, with a superb 35-yard free-kick.

The second half did not produce many chances, but a great save by home goalkeeper Kyle Donaldson, in the last minute,, ensured the points were rightly shared.

Easington entertain sixth-top Hebburn Town in another key game tomorrow.

Hebburn have Daniel Chambers, James Talbot and Alex Downey out injured while James Davidson is on holiday. Daniel Reeves, who has only managed one appearance all season, should be fit for a place on the bench, while Glen Hargrave also returns.

Boss Scott OIiver was rocked by defeat to Esh, saying: “We are beating the drum for more support and they have to watch that garbage.

“We had a strong team out, no excuses at all. I was stunned by what I watched.

“All credit to Esh Winning, who ran all night, but that was our worst performance I can ever remember. It’s hard to believe we had won eight games in a row before it”

“Easington are pushing for promotion and we need to bounce back.”

Durham City travel to leaders Team Northumbria.

Team North manager Colin Stromsoy said: “We are struggling at the moment with the majority of our first-team players out.

“With 90 per cent of players from our University second team, they’re a bit mismatched at times, but I’m very proud of them. They always rise to the challenge and equip themselves during challenging periods.”

Brandon United are hovering above the relegation zone and are at home to second-bottom Darlington RA.

United are without Lewis Martin and Kieran Duffy-Weekes, who are both suspended, but Luke Thompson and Daniel Pearson both return to the squad.

Lowly Crook Town are at home to Northallerton Town, with a fully fit squad available.

Northallerton manager Darren Trotter said: “The team are learning to adhere to the plan for the whole game, to be patient rather than charging around and continue to play possession football and not just hump the ball forward.”

Mattie Lovatt, James Briggs, Andrew Shepherd and Jack Proctor are all back for the visitors, but long-term injury victims James Muir and Tom Atkinson are both still not fit enough to be included in the starting line-up.

Billingham Synthonia travel to Heaton Stannington.

Their only concern is over Guy Craggs, who is struggling with a thigh strain.