Northern League: Norton motors back into contention to lift Easington for tough Billingham Town test

Washington's new management team of James Clark (left) and assistant manager Michael Laws survey the scene in last week's draw at home to Guisborough.

Washington's new management team of James Clark (left) and assistant manager Michael Laws survey the scene in last week's draw at home to Guisborough.

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Easington Colliery face a difficult task to resurrect their promotion ambitions in Division Two’s game of the day tomorrow.

Paul Frame’s side, sitting in seventh place, visit free-scoring fifth-top Billingham Town, looking to turn around their form after taking just seven points from the last nine league matches.

Easington miss Callum Hope and Reece Kenney, but striker Bryan Norton is back to full fitness and in possible contention for a start. He may face a fitness test before the game.

Dylan Nesbitt is out injured alongside Peter Jones, Shaun Smith and Shane O’Brien, while Dan Martin recently left the club to join Silksworth CW and Liam Hodgson has signed for Seaham Red Star.

Durham City, in fourth position, travel to mid-table Heaton Stannington who are bang in form, winning five of their last six games.

Crook Town face a long trip to Alnwick Town but will have a fully fit squad to choose from, excepting the suspended Lewis Brown.

Brandon United have a tough task at leaders Team Northumbria, who miss Josh Bynoe for at least four weeks with an ankle strain picked up in training.

Robbie Grainey his also out for a month after sustaining a burn at work, while Adam Chrostowski has a long-standing commitment which keeps him out tomorrow.

Team Northumbria boss Colin Stromsoy said: “Injuries continue to plague us. This has stretched the squad beyond anything anticipated or experienced in previous years.

“However, this has given the opportunity for student footballers, who have been playing in the university’s second team, to have an opportunity of playing in the Northern League.

“In recent games, players such as Scott Ballantine and Connor Drinkeld have joined the squad and done very well.”

Tow Law Town visit Whickham and only miss ankle injury victim Ben Collinson.

Secretary Steve Moralee said: “It will be a competitive game against Whickham and we travel on the back of a decent run and want to continue that run going.”

Whickham manager Robin Falcus said: “Jordan Fraser is unavailable with a hamstring injury, but Andrew Brown should be back after being away with a chest infection. David Clasper should also be back in contention - he was away with work last week.

“Tow Law are a very similar team to us, and their pitch is similar to ours. Both are aggressive teams so it will be a battle. They have recently signed Adam Nichols, who is a very good First Division player, and Matty Moffatt, who is also very good. Their team has strengthened and we know we’re going to be up against it.

“Normally we get the win at home so hopefully that continues.”

Third-top Billingham Synthonia are big favourites away to second-bottom Darlington RA. Synners only miss Nathan Steel, with his knee ligament injury.

Bottom club Esh Winning host Willington in a crucial relegation battle tonight.

The Hall Lane side, in fifth-bottom spot, are only seven points better off, with Esh on a good run, with three wins in their last six matches.

Willington secretary Geoff Siddle said: “We still have a doubt over Graham Lazonby with his shoulder injury. We’re fifth from the bottom and seven points ahead of them, with three games in hand, so a win would see us sitting quite comfortably.

“We’ll just go out and do our best to get the three points to keep us comfortable in the league.”