SPENNYMOOR Town have overtaken Sunderland RCA in the race for the STL Northern League First Division leadership following last night’s victory at West Auckland, who remain in pole position, writes MALCOLM PRATT.
The hosts made an excellent start, taking the lead after just 10 minutes when Mattie Moffat turned his defender and fired into the bottom corner of the net, giving Moor’s goalkeeper Craig Turns no chance.
Just before the interval Moors equalised with an equally good goal from Keith Graydon, whose free kick from 20 yards found the bottom corner of the net.
Midway through the second period a free kick was only partially cleared by the home defence and Sonny Andrews pounced from close range.
In the later stages, West pushed players forward in search of an equaliser but it was all over for them on 88 minutes when they conceded a penalty which Gavin Barton struck firmly wide of goalkeeper Mark Bell.
Moors have jumped into third place, two points behind Dunston UTS and three adrift of leaders West Auckland. RCA are now down to fifth but only five points off the top.
Bishop Auckland are seventh and it was a major shock when they were routed 7-1 by Ashington for whom recent signing Phil Bell was the toast of Woodhorn Lane.
Not only did the former Whitley Bay man score his side’s first five goals but he was the provider of the other two netted by Craig Scott and Damon Mullen. Andrew Strong claimed a consolation for Bishops.
South Shields moved further away from the three relegation places when they defeated Jarrow Roofing in the South Tyneside derby at Filtrona Park.
Mattie Soulsby split Roofing’s defence for Johnny Wightman to fire home from an acute angle.
The Mariners gifted Jarrow’s equaliser when a back-pass didn’t reach the goalkeeper and Peter Kane nipped in to score.
With only nine minutes remaining, David Colvin produced a good free kick which enabled Lee Bell to fire into the net from 10 yards.
In Division Two, Gillford Park moved into fourth place with victory at Hebburn Town where they scored twice in the opening eight minutes through Mike Reed and Matthew Lee.
Tony Stephenson threw Hebburn a lifeline on 37 minutes and although Gillford’s goalkeeper Ian Milburn made a spectacular save from Paul King.
Horden CW are back in the two relegation places after being leap-frogged by Whitehaven who trailed for 69 minutes at Thornaby for whom Craig Skelton converted a sixth-minute penalty.
Kevin Connolly equalised and 12 minutes from time he headed Whitehaven in front and they are now two points ahead of Horden with two games in hand on the Colliers.
Second Division leaders Team Northumbria upset the form book in a big way when they thumped Whitley Bay 5-0 in the Quarter Final of the Sage Northumberland FA Senior Cup.
Former Washington striker Peter Watling bagged a brace and so too did Dan Riley with Jack Palmer the other marksman. Whitley had Callum Anderson sent off on 44 minutes and his colleague Chris Fawcett was also shown a red card nine minutes from the end.
Newcastle Benfield produced another shock to reach the semi finals. Glen Taylor gave Blyth Spartans an early lead and after Brian Dodsworth restored parity, Kevin Leighton grabbed the winner.