NE Premier League: Sacriston face winner-takes-all title decider at Felling after penultimate programme is wiped out
Despite the dreary weather which brought a weekend washout, the race for the First Division title is still wide open.
It will be decided in the last game of the season this coming Saturday, with the fixture list throwing up a mouth-watering decider, when leaders Felling entertain second-placed Sacriston.
It’s a “winner takes all” game, although Felling would be pleased with the draw, as that would be enough for promotion to the Premier Division for them, unless the margin of the draw was more than 11 points, which is their lead going into the game.
Sacriston are unbeaten this season and will no doubt be in an attacking frame of mind, when they turn up for the match, as they have nothing to lose.
Willington, in third place, will just miss out again this season, although they will highly likely achieve a higher points total than when they finished third last season.
They are equal on 10 wins with both Sacriston and Felling, but they have lost two more than their rivals, which has made all the difference this term.
In the final game, they face Burnmoor, who have themselves had another solid season and sit in fifth place, having finished fourth last year. They can still match that position if they can win at Willington and Boldon, who are fourth, slip up against Mainsforth at Sunderland Road.
Boldon have improved this year and they have 11 more points than last time out, still with that one game to play.
Tudhoe will need a small miracle if they are to survive relegation, as their game with Blaydon also fell foul of the weather.
In their last game, they are at home to Brandon, still some 27 points adrift of Blaydon, with a maximum of 30 points still available.
Brandon, with only four wins, as against seven last season, will be looking to finish well. If they do win the game, it will push them nicely into mid-table.
Blaydon, who have found life difficult following relegation from the Premier League, need four points to avoid the drop when they take on Seaham Harbour, at New Drive, who are just above them in third-bottom spot.
Harbour have had a difficult season, with only three wins compared to six last term, and will be hoping to sign off this campaign with a win and possibly jump a few places into mid-table, depending on other results going their way.
One team who will be hoping to push into the promotion reckoning next season are Sunderland.
The Ashbrooke outfit are looking to utilise the experience their youngsters have had this season and blend this nicely with a few experienced players and an all-round professional.
Sunderland’s Mike Smith stated last week: “Our youngsters are gaining valuable experience this season, with Elliot Smith, Louis Dinsdale and Sam Brigham all doing well for the first team and they will all benefit from playing these games, next season.”
They finish with Washington the visitors at Ashbrooke.
The Harraton outfit were in serious relegation trouble, until they picked their form up in the middle of the season, winning three on the trot in late July and early August to stave off any remaining relegation fears.
However, they will look to regroup to mount another challenge next term.