Over-40s League: Bland of hope and glory for fired-up Grindon Broadway
Grindon Broadway sprang a surprise to keep alive their First Division promotion hopes.
The Wearsiders climbed to fifth place in the table thanks to an impressive 3-0 home victory over Hartlepool Gillen Arms.
Grindon never looked back after taking a third-minute lead, with Richard Bland on target,.
They remained on top until the break and dominated the second period, although Gillen could have equalised when Corney’s great strike hit the post.
Grindon increased their lead after 70 minutes, when Darren Cliff scored with a 20-yard strike.
Alan Ridley then completed the scoring when he raced into the penalty box, rounded the keeper and slotted into an empty net.
Easington CIU leapfrogged Gillen into second place after an impressive 7-2 drubbing of fourth-placed Ferryhill Greyhound.
Leaders Hylton CW maintained their outstanding campaign with a 4-0 home victory over Dubmire to go six points clear.
At the bottom, Consett boosted their survival chances by winning 3-2 at Whitley Bay Seahorse to move level on points with their fourth-bottom hosts.
Willow Pond fought hard but failed to stop Richmond Town boosting their promotion surge in Division Three.
On a day when much of the scheduled programme was forced off because of waterlogged pitches, injury-hit Willow Pond headed to Yorkshire and duly succumbed to a 3-1 defeat.
That helped Richmond consolidate third place in the table, three points ahead of Stanley and still with a game in hand.
Willow were the better side in the first half with some good passing and two chances created.
Gary Golightly got onto a long ball on the right wing and held off three defenders before crossing into the box for Brian Adamson to head the ball just over the bar, with Richmond keeper Tim Bishop beaten.
Willow attacked again, on the left, with Darren Smith setting up David Kelly, whose shot from the edge of the box was well held by Bishop.
Richmond took the lead after Willow lose possession just inside their half, with a low cross finished off by a mis-hit Mick White strike, which Willow keeper John Davis could not stop crossing the line.
Willow took the game to Richmond on the restart and Adamson fed Kelly. He cut inside the box and beat his defender to set up Golightly, who tried to dribble past the keeper only to be denied by a brave save at his feet.
Richmond doubled their lead as Danny McCowie countered well, and White beat Davis with a low drive.
McCowie then sustained a fractured and dislocated collar bone and his replacement, Mark Waller, tormented the visitors with neat passing and runs from the left wing.
Willow deservedly pulled one back when star man Kelly’s mazy run through midfield set up Golightly, whose half-volley gave Bishop no chance.
Mark Wood’s defence-splitting pass into the box set up Alistair Wilson, but the keeper dived at his feet to keep the hosts on top.
Right-back Lee Brown and centre-half Dean Cassidy steadied the ship for Willow, who lost keeper Davis to a hand injury before the game was put beyond doubt.
Waller played a ball down the left wing after Wilson missed a tackle and Mark Cleminson sets up Richmond sub Bobby Fotheringham, who held off challenges to shoot past substitute keeper Matt Gartland to make it 3-1.
Houghton Cricket Club climbed out of the drop zone after a brilliant 6-1 demolition of bottom club Shildon Grey Horse.
The cricketers’ sixth win of the season lifted them above Hedworthfield Red Hackle into fourth-bottom spot.
Washington JFC Biddick Inn shared the spoils in a goalless draw with mid-table rivals Hartlepool Stag & Monkey on a very heavy pitch.
Biddick were closest to scoring, midway through the first half, with a long-range effort which rattled the bar. Stag responded with a strike which was brilliantly tipped over by the visiting keeper/
In Division Four, Ivy Legends missed the chance to climb into third place after succumbing to a 3-2 defeat in their crunch promotion clash at Billingham Vets.
The Ivy lads were pipped and now sit five points adrift of third-top Billingham, albeit still with a game in hand.
Wearmouth Old Boys maintained their fine recent run with a storming 6-1 home triumph against mid-table Boldon Colliery Tavern, rising to 10th place on the back of their seventh victory of the season.
Second-top Hartlepool Vets were pushed all the way before edging home 3-2 at battling bottom club Trimdon, who led in the first half and were only pegged back just before half-time.
Trimdon, with one game left, still have a chance to avoid finishing bottom.
Durham County stayed ninth after beating Hartlepool Jacksons Arms 2-1.
Ryhope Foresters moved within two points of front-runners Marden in the Premier Division, after an excellent 3-1 win at lowly Hebburn Town.
Foresters, though, have played four games more than the leaders.
Horden Sportsmans lost 3-1 at home to Darsley Park in the only Second Division game to stay only three points above the relegation places.
Darsley moved up to fifth.
John Hogg Funerals saw their dreams of glory in the Second Division’s Ironside Cup glory dashed by a 3-1 quarter-final defeat away to lowly South Shields Catholic Club.
Pelton Crown battled well but went down 4-2 to Hartlepool Catholic Club after extra time. In normal time, they twice levelled matters. but goals in each half of the extra-time period finished them off.
Leaders Blakelaw SC outgunned third-top Cobblers Hall 8-1.
Marden beat old rivals Hartlepool Touchdown 2-1 in the Premier’s Robson-Pattison Cup after trailing to Graham Popple’s goal, direct from a corner.
Tudhoe Black Horse progressed, winning 2-1 at Darlington Shuttle and Loom.