Northern League: Larkin, Callen give RCA perfect Christmas boost
Sunderland RCA won 2-0 at Team Northumbria to climb to eighth place in Division One on Saturday.
The home side wasted at least three good chances before experienced Irishman Colin Larkin made the breakthrough for RA with a neat finish on 39 minutes.
RCA improved defensively in the second half and sealed victory in the last minute, when Stephen Callen struck.
Manager Martin Swales, whose men host Consett on Boxing Day (11am), was delighted with the win, saying: “To be fair, they were much the better side in the first half and it flattered us to be 1-0 up.
“They were a very good side and this is an excellent win on our travels.
“We tightened up a lot in the second half and kept a clean sheet and nicked another goal at the end. I am absolutely delighted with the result and it sets us up nicely for a tough week ahead.”
Ryhope CW lost an entertaining game 3-2 at home to Whitley Bay, whose goalkeeper, Thomas Flynn, was outstanding.
Flynn defied efforts from Kyle Davis, Matty Weirs and James Ellis before Jack Walker’s cross somehow went through Jonathan Ball’s legs to give Bay the lead.
Five minutes into the second half, Ellis levelled things up with a great header past Flynn, but Bay were soon back in front, following a great run and shot from Tom Potter.
On the hour mark, Paul Braithwaite controlled the ball well and poked home for 2-2.
However, the sting in the tail came in the final minute, when Kyle Patton fired Bay’s third in a goalmouth scramble to secure all three points.
Washington travelled to North Shields and lost 3-0 to stay in second-bottom place, three points from safety.
Ben Harmison found Dean Holmes free in the box and he beat goalkeeper Daniel Gladstone for a 10th-minute opener.
Lee Mason made it 2-0 from close range on 21 minutes and, just before half-time, Harmison lashed home the third.
Washington had Matty Parker sent off for a challenge at 2-0, while the Robins had Craig McFarlane sent off for two bookable offences midway through the second half.
Seaham Red Star went down 3-1 at Bishop Auckland, whose goals came in the final 15 minutes of the first half.
Priestley Griffiths beat Jordan Harkess for a 30th-minute opener, then Andrew Johnson converted a penalty and McAloon made it 3-0 on the stroke of half-time .
Lee Chapman’s penalty cut the deficit in the 66th minute.
Shildon were held 0-0 by bottom club Billingham Synthonia, who defended well to secure only their eighth point of the season.
Sub Adam Burnicle and Billy Greulich-Smith went close for the Railwaymen in the second half, but goalkeeper James Dawson stood firm.
West Auckland are still sixth after a 2-2 draw at home to Newton Aycliffe.
West led twice, through Ben Wood and Alex Francis, but the visitors fought back both times through Matthew Pennal and Paul Weldon.
Consett lost 3-2 at home to Stockton Town, despite going 2-0 ahead with goals from Calvin Smith and Michael Mackay.
Three goals in five second-half minutes turned it around, with Kevin Hayes, Sonni Coleman and Chris Stockton all on target.
Second-top Marske United had to fight to beat struggling Jarrow Roofing 4-3.
Lee Kerr’s curling shot gave the visitors an early lead, but Marske stormed into a 3-1 lead with goals from Craig Gott (2) and Danny Earl.
Roofing came back hard to equalise, through Dennis Knight’s penalty and a brilliant effort from Oliver Martin, with five minutes left. But Marske found a winner deep into injury time, when Liam O’Sullivan bundled the ball past goalkeeper Shaun Newbrook.
Leaders Morpeth Town stayed nine points clear after a 3-2 defeat of Dunston UTS.
Michael Hall headed both Dunston goals and also deflected a cross into thet net for an own goal, with Wayne Phillips and a deflected Sean Taylor strike, four minutes from time, seeing Morpeth home.
Luke Salmon rescued a 1-1 draw for Ashington at Penrith, following Martyn Coleman’s fine opener, while veteran Paul Brayson hit all four goals as Newcastle Benfield walloped Guisborough 4-0.