SUNDERLAND got back to winning ways with a comprehensive 49-17 Durham and Northumberland Division Two win over Hartlepool at Ashbrooke on Saturday.
Despite the emphatic scoreline, Hartlepool didn’t make life easy in the opening exchanges and both sides made clean breaks without managing to cross the line.
Sunderland built up the pressure and on 10 minutes were rewarded with a penalty in front of the sticks which Tom Townend converted.
Sunderland kept up the pressure and and a Hartlepool line-out five metres out from their own line went horribly wrong, allowing Martin Watt to pile over from close range and extend the lead.
It was pretty much one-way traffic for the rest of the first half and Sunderland had the bonus point wrapped up by the break.
Pete Harrison drove over from a well-worked Sunderland line-out and Matt Goforth beat the Hartlepool defence on the outside and scored down the right wing.
Dan Abraham sealed the bonus point just before half-time. Slick handling by the backs put Goforth away and he drew the last defender and fed Abraham down the left wing.
Despite the attentions of the Hartlepool full-back. Abraham managed to ground the ball.
A 27-0 lead should have made for a comfortable second half but Hartlepool had other ideas and came storming back with a try of their own to narrow the gap.
Sunderland replied with a Matt Goforth try before two more from the visitors left the home side shell-shocked.
With Hartlepool sniffing a bonus point try, Sunderland used all three replacements and the added impetus made a big difference.
Joe Arrowsmith scored with his first touch of the game when he collected an over-thrown line-out and with the help of his pack drove the five metres to the line.
Both sides were then reduced to 14 men as the result of a bit of handbags in the Hartlepool half with Tom Townend and the Hartlepool full-back both given ten minutes in the sin bin.
Martin Watt scored his second try of the day from a pushover try to extend Sunderland’s lead. With Townend in the bin, Goforth added the conversion.
Townend returned to the pitch to have the last say in the game as he made a 40-yard break from inside his own half beating several defenders in the process.
He was hauled down 15 metres short but Sunderland recycled quickly through two more phases before Townend popped up to finish off the move he started.
Despite last week’s setback against Ryton, Sunderland still have their fate is still in their own hands – but nothing other than a 100 per cent record from their last five games will be enough for them to secure promotion back into Durham and Northumberland One.
H In Division Three, Seaham crashed 26-6 at home to Richmondshire.