SUNDERLAND Broom bolstered their North League Division Two East survival battle with a hard-earned win against mid-table Leeds Gryphons seconds.
Broom slipped to the bottom of the table when they lost out 5-1 at home to table-toppers Harrogate on Saturday, but recovered to climb two points ahead of Leeds Adel Carnegie with Sunday’s 2-1 success against the Gryphons 24 hours later.
Harrogate capitalised on two defensive mistakes to go 2-0 up, but Sunderland pressed the visitors and were rewarded when Nick Campbell converted from close range after good work down the right by Johnny Pearson and Callum Richardson.
The hosts kept up their form only to be let down by a lack of concentration as Harrogate turned round 5-1 up. Sunderland produced a much-improved second-half display, denying the Yorkshire side any further goals, and giving morale a boost for the second game of the weekend.
Against the Gryphons, Sunderland showed heart in shrugging off the loss of Matt Dench and the impressive midfield helped create a series of goalscoring opportunities, with Duncan Stevens finally making the breakthrough from a short corner, firing through the keeper’s legs.
Sunderland maintained the upper hand and deservedly doubled their lead with Stevens diving in to finish off, for his second goal of the game. Gryphons rallied to pull one back in a goalmouth scramble, but Sunderland went closer to scoring the vital fourth goal of the game, twice hitting the bar and shooting wide several times, but held on for a welcome victory.
Sunderland have another double header this weekend – visiting second-top Lincoln Roses on Saturday (1.30pm) before hosting Marton Furness at Sandhill View on Sunday (noon). Marton are just a point better off than the Wearsiders ahead of a crucial clash.
Sunderland seconds host Newcastle Medics seconds at Sandhill View on Saturday, looking to make amends for last week’s 8-2 loss on Tyneside which saw the Wearsiders drop to bottom spot in the North East League’s Intermediate 1, with Medics moving up a place.
The seconds also went down 4-3 in a thriller at Stockton thirds
H Durham University firsts had to settle for a point in their England Hockey League Conference North clash at Preston, despite leading 3-1 with 18 minutes to go.
Matthew Murphy’s opener was cancelled out by Adam Wilson’s penalty corner, but Durham regained the lead with further efforts from Murphy and Martin Lear. Preston, though rallied to rescue a point thanks to Robin Taylor and Samuel Sinclair.
The third-top students – who cannot now top the table – have a double header this weekend, with Wakefield visiting Maiden Castle on Saturday (3.30pm) before Durham head to leaders Bowdon on Sunday (2pm).