Over-40s League: Ivy Legends play waiting game after staking promotion claim in final match
Ivy Legends maintained their all-out assault on promotion in Division Three with a fine 4-0 victory over a stubborn Heighington Bay Horse in blazing sunshine.
After shipping seven goals the previous week to Ivy’s twin strikeforce, the home side tightened up.
But Ivy’s pressure finally paid off when centre-back Paul Vaudrey followed instructions to the letter to score after a late run to the back post.
The second half saw Ivy dominate and Finn struck the bar and post, followed by McNally’s strike which crashed down off the bar and onto the line.
Goal difference could be vital in the hunt for promotion, but no one seemed to have told Lindsay who missed from close range twice in succession.
Michael Cleugh, though, notched twice to settle Legends’ nerves.
Vaudrey matched his double, switching to midfield and striking a sweet shot into the corner after a pull back from Cleugh.
Ivy, who have completed their campaign, must now wait to see if they have done enough for promotion in third place.
They are nine points ahead of Durham County Strollers, who have three games left and a superior goal difference, while Hartlepool Stag & Monkey are 10 points behind with four matches to play.
Washington JFC Biddick Inn are second, above Ivy on goal difference but with a game to go. They edged a thrilling 4-3 success at Durham County Strollers.
Rolls-Royce leapfrogged Houghton Cricket Club into eighth place with a fine 2-1 away triumph.
Houghton dominated early on, but a couple of great saves kept the scores level.
Great one-two play down the right wing, between Micky Agnew and Paul Fazackerley, led to Rolls’ opener, with Micky Atkinson putting away the rebound after the keeper saved Agnew’s shot.
Rolls’ keeper made some outstanding saves to retain the lead at the break, and they soon doubled their lead as Neil Thompson clinically finished off Agnew’s defence-splitting pass.
Houghton came back in the last 15 minutes and Russell made it 2-1, but the keeper made another great save to ensure the visitors’ victory.
The Philadelphia bolstered their survival big with a 3-3 draw against Billingham Vets, while champions Pelton Roseberry Grange were beaten 4-2 at Wingate Cons.
Mill View secured two precious wins in their late fight to beat the drop in Division Two.
They are up to second-bottom spot, following a 5-3 defeat of Newcastle End and a 4-2 midweek triumph at Hartlepool Catholic Club.
With three games left, they are six points from the safety of fourth-bottom spot.
Third-bottom Peterlee Helford United are three points better off, with a game in hand. Wodhorn Lane are bottom, behind Mill on goal difference but with two extra matches to play.
They lost 2-0 at Plains Farm Alldec, who earlier drew 2-2 with leaders St Mary’s College Old Boys. Plainsy are fifth-bottom, still with three games to play.
St Mary’s just need one win in their final three matches to be crowned champions.
Dubmire Club are up to seventh after a pair of good wins, 3-2 against Hartlepool Catholic Club and 2-1 at Newcastle East End.
Against Hartlepool Catholic, they capitalised on two mistakes to go 2-0 ahead at the break. The visitors drew level by the hour mark, but Dubmire finished strongly to edge home by the odd goal in the final minute.
Ryhope Foresters sit in fourth place in the Premier Division after a 2-1 victory over Washington Victoria Inn.
After five games in two weeks, injuries affected both sides, but Victoria started well, without troubling home keeper Paul Young.
On the 20-minute mark, Stephen Halliday made a great run though the middle of Washington’s defence and was found with a excellent pass from Andrew Dove before passing the ball beyond the keeper to open the scoring.
Dove made it 2-0 as Foresters’ pressure told and they held firm in defence in the second half, when Victoria improved and pulled a goal back.
Redhouse WMC leapfrogged Easington CIU into ninth place with a 4-2 victory, while Hylton CW kept their survival hopes alive with a 3-2 success at second-bottom Wallsend Community.
Hylton are just three points behind Wearmouth CW, who lost 2-1 to Penshaw Catholic Club.
Marden are a point ahead of Hartlepool Workies in the title race, with two games left.
The Tynesiders drew 5-5 with Heaton Stannington in a memorable clash, then beat Darlington Shuttle & Loom 4-0.
Darlington earlier lost 3-1 to Workies, with two-goal Mick Waller (2) and Andy McKenna on target.
In Division Four, The Doxy Lad climbed to fourth-bottom spot thanks to a 3-0 win over Pennywell Comrades.
Pennywell Vets won 2-1 at Boldon Colliery Tavern in midweek, following a 5-0 weekend demolition of Sedgefield.
Wearmouth CW Old Boys went down 3-1 at Hedworthfield Red Hackle to go six points adrift of their third-place hosts, albeit with two games in hand.
Hartlepool Stag & Monkey won the Third Division’s Echo Cup with a 4-3 final win over Billingham Vets at Wearmouth CW.
Ian Good’s header set the tone, with Brendan Deer making it 2-0, but Billingham rallied to level with a brilliant free-kick and a penalty.
Stag rang the changes from the bench and were back in front on the hour as Dave Cooling picked the ball up 30 yards out and played a great one-two before smashing a half-volley into the bottom corner of the net.
Cooling linked up again with Barlow for Stag’s fourth, sealing victory, despite Billingham replying late on with a brilliant solo goal.