WEST Auckland deposed Sunderland RCA as leaders of the STL Northern League First Division after enjoying a seven-goal romp at nine-man Guisborough last night, writes MALCOLM PRATT.
RCA manager Neil Hixon was hoping that resurgent Guisborough might cause an upset, but, after conceding the opener to John Campbell, they had Austin Johnson sent off in the 39th minute.
Adam Nichols doubled West’s lead and the hosts’ Gary Wood was also shown red, leaving the home side to play the final 35 minutes with only nine players.
Not surprisingly, West attacked incessantly. Campbell completed his hat-trick with Ross Preston, Mattie Moffat and Martin Young also netting.
West have a one-point lead over second-top RCA, with Spennymoor just a point behind the Wearsiders after they edged arch-rivals Bishop Auckland 2-1.
Keith Graydon’s powerful 25-yarder in the 46th minute gave Bishop goalkeeper Peter Jeffries no chance.
Craig Hodgson beat Moors keeper Robert Dean in the air to level, then, just before the end, the assistant referee ruled that Stephen Richardson’s header had crossed the line, although Jeffries thought he had kept the ball out.
Stokesley SC’s relegation was confirmed with a 4-0 defeat at Billingham Synthonia, with only three points secured from 34 games.
Morpeth – rock bottom this time last year – moved second top in Division Two after beating Esh Winning 2-0, with Chris Lunn and Stephen Anderson beating keeper Jake Johnson. Defeat leaves Esh with a mountain to climb if they are to claim one of the three promotion spots.
Bedlington Terriers reached the Brooks Mileson Memorial Cup semi-finals when Stephen Bowey sank Gillford Park.
Horden CW and Peterlee Town drew 2-2 in their Welfare Park friendly. Michael Noble and Ian Redman had the visitors ahead at half-time before two goals in four minutes from Aaron Ramsbottom and Stephen Carruthers levelled it up.