Northern League: Second-half strikes steer Sunderland RCA home in derby at Red Star

Up for it: Ryhope CW (red and white) battle against South Shields on Saturday. Picture by Kevin Brady
Up for it: Ryhope CW (red and white) battle against South Shields on Saturday. Picture by Kevin Brady
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Sunderland RCA regained winning ways with a hard-earned 2-0 First Division victory at neighbours Seaham Red Star on Saturday.

A tight first half ended goalless at the Ferguson Motors Stadium.

Robbie Bird went closest for Star, rounding keeper Jonathan Carmichael and finding the angle too tight, while John Butler had RCA’s best opportunity, impressively getting the better of the defence only to fire straight at Shaun Newbrook.

Red Star were close when Carmichael defied Bird before Liam Hodgson hit the bar. But RCA broke the deadlock on 62 minutes, James Cassidy smashing the ball home from the edge of the box.

Twelve minutes later, RCA doubled their lead when Colin Larkin reacted quickly, to score from close range, following a brilliant save from Newbrook.

Washington are just four points above the relegation zone, with a game in hand, after a 4-1 defeat at home to fourth-top Morpeth Town.

Michael Turner opened the scoring from close range on six minutes, and ex-Washington star Mark Davison doubled the lead nine minutes later.

It was 3-0 on 20 minutes when Davison headed home at the back post, and Keith Graydon’s 25-yarder extended the visitors’ advantage early in the second half.

Jake Pickard scored a consolation for the Mechanics on 68 minutes.

Bottom club Chester-le-Street look doomed after losing 2-1 at West Auckland.

West went ahead on seven minutes, following Ross Gardner’s free-kick, which deflected off Chester’s Lee Mole for an own goal.

However, in the 48th minute, the Cestrians were awarded a penalty when David Mitchell brought down David Latham and Michael Hepplewhite duly converted from the spot.

But West Auckland scored the crucial winner after 64 minutes. Craig Ruddy was brought down in the box and Ruddy himself beat goalkeeper Jack Wilson from the spot to to stay eight points clear of the drop zone.

Newton Aycliffe enjoyed an excellent 2-1 win at Ashington. Jamie Owens scored both goals, sandwiching Ryan McGorrigan’s header for the hosts.