Wearside League: Sunderland West End clinch third-place finish with six of the best at Annfield Plain
Sunderland West End guaranteed a third-place finish, with two games still to play.
The Ford Quarry men rested players ahead of today’s TWR Shipowners’ Cup final at Silksworth CW, but still proved too strong for Annfield Plain on Saturday.
The Wearsiders played well and ran out convincing 6-1 winners.
A hat-trick from prolific marksman Anthony Ross stole the show, backed by further efforts from Jordan Cook, Keiron Martin and Brad Wilson.
Nathan Morley hit Annfield’s consolation.
West End climbed above Hebburn Town Reserves, who have completed their programme, into third place.
Their final two league games are away to Hartlepool on Wednesday and Wolviston on Saturday. They meet Wolviston again in the Monkwearmouth Cup final at Ford Quarry on Friday, May 18 (7pm).
Fifth-top Boldon CA lost 2-0 at Wolviston.
Both goals came in the first half, the opener through Junior Masandi, in the 15th minute, when he beat goalkeeper Michael Young to bag his 50th goal for the Metcalfe Park club.
Four minutes before half-time, Nathan Bayes fired in a 20-yard to double the lead. Late on in the game, Boldon’s Aaron Burn was sent off for kicking out at a Wolviston player.
Redcar Athletic claimed a magnificent 2-1 win at leaders Cleator Moor Celtic in a potentially title-deciding victory.
Redcar drew level with the Cumbrians on 76 points, but crucially have two games left, to their rivals’ one.
An early goal settled Redcar, when a Michael Woodhouse cross found its way past keeper Craig Devine into the net.
Redcar went 2-0 up shortly afterwards, when Lance Skelton was left unmarked to fire past Devine.
With 15 minutes left on the clock, Celtic pulled one back through Lee Dunn, but Athletic held firm for the win.
Redcar have a tough trip to Richmond Town on Wednesday tonight before rounding off their campaign at home to Leam Rangers this Saturday.
Cleator Moor’s last game is at home to bottom club Coxhoe Athletic on Saturday.
Leam Rangers found sixth-top Richmond Town to hot to handle at the Hilltop Ground as the Dalesman eased to a comfortable 3-0 win.
The goals came from Ryan Booth with a shot from outside the box, a Michael Gunnell header and, late on, Gunnell got lucky with his second goal, as the ball hit him and flew into the net.
The game of the day saw Hartlepool lift the Total Sport Alan Hood Charity Cup on home turf at Grayfields Enclosure.
After a competitive and close match in the first half against Hebburn Town Reserves, Hartlepool took a 44th-minute lead, when Jamie Tumilty smashed in a 25-yard shot after picking up a loose ball.
Hebburn rallied in the second half, and levelled in the 55th minute following a corner, with Nathan Richardson heading home.
Seven minutes later, after a mistake at the back, James Lawson put Hebburn in front from close range and it looked likely to be the winner.
But, three minutes from time, Pool equalised in dramatic circumstances.
Tumilty fired in a free-kick, which hit the Hebburn bar, then Ashley Clark followed up and also shot against the bar, but Sam Crook smashed the ball home from the rebound, past stand-in keeper Josh Houghton.
That made it 2-2 and took the final to a shoot-out. Pool kept their nerve to edge home 5-4, with Elliot Coils making two great saves, one in sudden death, to spark wild celebrations and Mike Snowdon hitting the winner.
League chairman Peter Maguire presented the trophy to club captain Matty Gardner and skipper-for-the-day Joe Osbourne.
Hartlepool secretary John Ward said: “It was a tense final. We never really got going until later in the game.
“We went 2-1 down and then managed to scrape a goal back, just before the 90 minutes were up.
“It went to penalties and both sides missed the first penalty. It was all down to Elliot Coils saving two penalties, which managed to win us the cup.”