Northern League season so far: Ryhope CW boss Gary Pearson out to keep on improving

Summer signing James Ellis (red) has been magnificent for Ryhope CW this season

Summer signing James Ellis (red) has been magnificent for Ryhope CW this season

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Ryhope CW manager Gary Pearson is happy with his side’s efforts this season – after a tricky start to their first ever top-flight Northern League campaign.

Despite the disappointment of their FA Vase exit, Ryhope are up to 14th place, 11 points clear of the relegation zone.

“It was turbulent to get there with a slow start, but we pulled together and got good results,” said former Football League pro Pearson, who is assisted by Stu Gooden.

“We’re away from the bottom three. Although our results are still up and down, we are holding our own in the league and can only get stronger.

“James Ellis (signed from Brandon United in the summer) is absolutely flying – he’s scored 21 goals. Kyle Davis, who misses the first couple of months due to playing cricket, got back into his usually flow. He brought James Ellis and Matty Weirs into the game too.

“Our next game, we have Hartlepool United in the Durham Challenge Cup on Tuesday night – it’s a cup I’d love to win.

“Then we need to pull ourselves away from the bottom of the league.

“As a manager, the aim is to go further. Our ground is currently maintained by the council, but our chairman is in talks with them to take over it so we can maintain it ourselves.”

Chester-le-Street are in a very difficult position at the foot of the table, 10 points from safety in their first season back in Division One.

It was to be expected given the financial limitations compared to their competitors, but they are rueing the loss eight points from winning positions.

Dominic Laws and Jack Wilson have been their biggest influences this season, and both look to have big futures in non-league football.

The target for the remainder of the season is to try to be more competitive in all their games, especially cutting out the loss of early goals which have hit their plans too often.

The Cestrians are trying to secure funding for a new clubhouse which is essential for the long-term future of the club, to have a base to be proud of and a home for all their youth teams too.

West Auckland have had a season of change, having begun with Andy Campbell and now with Steve Skinner running the show as the league stalwarts seek to preserve their top-flight place.

Official Cliff Alderson said: “We started off the season with Andy Campbell as manager, but the first half of the season did not go well, so we changed the manager, hoping results would improve but they haven’t gone so well.

“We then appointed two managers, Darren Williams and Steve Skinner, but having two managers didn’t seem to be the answer, so Steve is now managing the team.

“With 15 games to go, hopefully results will improve. We need to win five or six games to move away from the bottom of the league.

“Steve has already brought in some new players and is hopeful to bring in some more.

“Player-wise, Ibrahim Hassan has done well. Adam Burnicle scored quite a few goals last season and has continued to do so.”

Washington have had a tough season and are fighting for survival, having moved onto a third manager of the season in Richie Latimer, following the departures from the Mechanics of Steven Hutchinson and Neil Hixon in quick succession.