RYHOPE CW will be crowned champions if they defeat Willington at Hall Lane on Wednesday night, writes MALCOLM PRATT.
Martin Swales’ side drew against Redcar Athletic on Saturday, but Easington Colliery’s defeat at Jarrow strengthened Ryhope’s position.
With three games to play they need just three points to start the celebrations.
It was not easy for the Wearsiders at Redcar, where they suffered a third minute blow with the loss of goalkeeper Neal Atkinson through injury.
Outfield player James Dunn took over and he was beaten twice by Richie Playforth.
Just before the interval, Chris Trewick reduced the deficit, but John Butler came up trumps, squeezing in a header past Nicky Ward.
Easington Colliery have now taken just one point from the last nine after losing at Jarrow.
Dale Crawford gave them a half-time lead but the South Tynesiders romped home 3-1 courtesy of Dean Patton, Chris Lunn and Marc Brocklehurst.
Dan Craggs converted a late penalty for Easington, who are in danger of also losing out to New Marske for the runners-up position, which would deny them automatic promotion to the STL Northern League.
New Marske enjoyed a 3-1 win at Wolviston, with strikes from Michael Murphy, Luke Woodhall and Rob James before Shaun Gregory replied late in the game.
Ashbrooke Belford House ended up losing 2-0 at Windscale.
Willington were more successful in Cumbria, defeating Cleator Moor Celtic 4-1 with goals from John Richardson, Michael Weston, Adam Blenkinsopp and Daniel James. Darren Johnson had levelled for the home side.
Stockton Town also won by a 4-1 margin at home to Annfield Plain, for whom Paul Henderson-Reay was their only scorer. David Johnson rifled a hat-trick, with Fred Woodhouse also on the mark for Stockton.