RYHOPE CW took a gigantic step towards retaining the Wearside League championship with a crucial 1-0 victory over arch-rivals Redcar Athletic in last night’s crunch game.
With so much at stake, it was predictable that both teams would keep it tight at the back and few scoring opportunities were created throughout the 90 minutes.
Martin Swales’ side suffered a huge blow on the stroke of half-time when Nathan Johnson was sent off.
This provided the Seasiders with a big advantage but despite exerting considerable pressure during the second period, it was the Wearsiders who broke the deadlock.
With only 13 minutes remaining, substitute Grant Bulmer weaved his way along the byline and his cross was headed into the net by Martin Metcalfe.
In the final minutes, the home side pressed relentlessly but Ryhope’s 10 men held on to go back into pole position.
The sides are now level but Ryhope have a game in hand and a better goal difference. Ryhope have four more games to play.
Peterlee Town have enjoyed a good end to the season and are now guaranteed a top-half-of-the-table position after defeating Darlington Cleveland Bridge 2-0.
David Lake provided the opening for Connor Walker to open the scoring after 50 minutes but 10 minutes later Lake was shown a red card.
Despite playing the last half hour with 10 men, Peterlee doubled their lead five minutes from the end as substitute Michael Nicholson, with his first touch of the ball, played in Stephen Hockaday who rounded goalkeeper Mark Briggs before firing into an empty net.
Stockton Town enhanced their chances of pipping Sunderland West End for third place when they hit Kirkbymoorside for six.
Tom Hinchley rifled a hat-trick with Chris Stockton (2) and Tony Johnson also finding the net before Lee Bannister and Lee Alexander claimed late consolation goals for the Yorkshiremen.