IT was little wonder that Sunderland RCA lost at relegation-threatened Bishop Auckland in last night’s STL Northern League First Division game, writes MALCOLM PRATT.
RCA played all but five minutes with 10 men following the dismissal of Richard Logan for violent conduct.
It was a big blow to the Wearsiders, but they were still first to score at Heritage Park as Joe Walton struck from close range on 35 minutes.
Chris Lawson stabbed home an equaliser before Chris Bell beat the offside trap and RCA goalkeeper Gareth Hoggeth to put Bishops 2-1 up.
Despite their numerical disadvantage, Neil Hixon’s side levelled with Walton’s pile-driver on the stroke of half-time.
Darren Atkinson restored the hosts’ advantage with a perfect finish from an acute angle and Bishops held on, though RCA – who had Mark Ellison sent off two minutes from time – were the stronger side in the closing stages.
Spennymoor took another big step towards retaining the championship with an emphatic 4-0 home victory over South Shields.
Three goals in the opening 23 minutes from Craig Hubbard and Gavin Cogdon (2) led the way before Adam Johnston hit a late fourth. Moors are now second, only a point behind Shildon with four games in hand.
Whitley Bay moved into fourth place following a dramatic last-gasp 2-1 victory at Dunston UTS.
Andrew Bulford’s goal on the hour looked sure to be sufficient for Dunston, but, in stoppage time, Paul Chow equalised.
Dunston were incensed that the referee did not blow for a foul in the lead-up to the goal, but the drama was not over and, deeper into added time, David Coulson headed Bay’s winner.
West Allotment slipped back into the relegation zone following a 2-1 defeat at Penrith, while 10-man Ashington defeated Billingham Synthonia, thanks to Stephen Young and Chris Scott.
In Division Two, Seaham Red Star will be pleased they do not have to meet Whitehaven again this season.
Last night’s 6-3 defeat means they have conceded 16 goals in three games to the Cumbrians.
Last night, Whitehaven stormed two up, but Kevin Turns’ side rallied brilliantly, scoring three times in 10 minutes to lead through Richie Goodman (2) and Jonathan Monaghan.
But the visitors hit four second-half goals to clinch a comfortable win.
Washington are just a place above fourth-bottom Seaham after losing 4-3 at Marske United, for whom Carl Charlton rifled a hat-trick. Danny Smart (2) and Nick Martin struck for the Newtowners.
Andrew McIntosh’s late strike earned Birtley Town a deserved 1-1 draw against Darlington RA, while Newton Aycliffe extended their lead at the top to 12 points with a 5-2 win at Whickham, Warren Byrne grabbing a hat-trick.
Ben Wood and Stuart Owen also notched for impressive Aycliffe, while Tony Thirkell struck twice in reply for Whickham, whose promotion hopes are receding.