Late woe hampers Sunderland Broom

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SUNDERLAND Broom twice suffered late misery as they dropped to third-bottom spot in the men’s North League Division Two East despite two draws.

First, Sheffield University Bankers hit back from two goals down to rescue a point in a 2-2 draw. then second-top Lincoln Roses also grabbed a late equaliser in another 2-2 draw.

Against Sheffield, Broom had only 11 men available, but they were up for the challenge from the start and stormed into the lead. Renshaw and Mark Wilkinson fed Andy Gayner, who broke forward before squaring the ball to Duncan Stevens, who slotted into an empty net.

Sunderland’s hard-working and organised performance gave the Bankers plenty of problems on the break, and they deservedly doubled their advantage when another counter-attack found Andy Brown, whose astute pass saw Gayner get free to fire into the bottom corner from the top of the D.

A defensive mix-up led to Chris Downham pulling one back with five minutes to go, and the same player shattered the Wearsiders by grabbing an equaliser with a penalty flick in the last play of the game.

The following day, Sunderland were boosted in numbers for the visit of Lincoln. Both sides had chances from the off, but Broom made the breakthrough when Neil Sparrowhawk drove home a penalty stroke, after Andy Brown was felled as he rounded the visiting keeper.

Sunderland defended well, particularly in keeping out a series of penalty corners, but Lincoln finally levelled, capitalising on some sloppy play to score with a reverse stick shot.

Keeper Andrew Wilkinson had to make some good saves behind a hard-working defence of Chris Brown, Sparrowhawk, Craig Togher and Neil Holmes, before Sunderland began to get back on top in the second half. Gayner shot wide, then Stevens went close to scoring, before Matt Dench finished off an excellent passing move with a reverse flick over the Roses keeper for a 2-1 lead.

Lincoln had the upper hand for the remainder of the game, but excellent defending and goalkeeping looked set to ensure a home success, but the visitors got lucky to bag a second equaliser when a shot deflected off Togher and over the luckless Wilkinson.On Saturday, the firsts have their final game of 2012, at home to Wakefield seconds at Sandhill VIew (2pm).

The seconds’ North East League Intermediate 1 match at Newcastle University thirds was frozen off last week, but Richard Whitham’s team hope to visit Stockton thirds in a rearranged match this Saturday.

Sandhill View was unplayable last week, so the thirds’ Intermediate 2 clash with Stockton fifths was postponed. Chris Vaughan’s side will be back in action on January 12.

Meanwhile, Sunderland’s Over-40s Veterans will host Bowdon in the EH Over-40s Cup on January 13, having been given a second walkover in the competition, this time against Huddersfield Dragons.

H In the Women’s North League Division Two North East, Sunderland Broom endured a disappointing double defeat.

They went down 3-1 at second-top Newcastle firsts before being outgunned 6-2 by third-placed Durham City firsts.

This Saturday, Broom visit third-bottom Norton firsts (11.30am).