Wearside League: West End maintain pursuit of top three with convincing home success against Annfield Plain
Sunderland West End maintained their hopes of a title challenge with a comfortable 4-0 home victory over Annfield Plain.
The fifth-placed Ford Quarry men are 16 points off top spot, but have four matches in hand and still feel confident of piling the pressure on the top three.
West End found their stride in the second half, with Bryan Norton’s tap-in on 55 minutes finally ending Annfield’s gallant resistance.
Three minutes later, Jordon Cook fired in from outside the box, then Mark Robinson headed home the third on 65 minutes before Lee Smith’s penalty wrapped the game up.
Manager Anthony Nelson said: “We made a few a changes to the team, to keep players match fit and happy.
“A few teams are writing us off, but we are coming up on the blind side and are right in the mix, with a very strong goal difference and plenty to play for in the next few weeks.”
West End can now focus on Friday’s Durham County Trophy final against Leam Rangers at Eppleton CW (11am).
Silksworth CW travelled to Hartlepool and were denied the three points by an equaliser in the fourth minute of stoppage time.
Andrew Stobbart’s men took the lead on 65 minutes when David Stevens finished well, following a goalmouth scramble.
But, deep into injury time, Pool had a corner and the ball fell to Mike Connelly, whose shot went in off the post, beating helpless goalkeeper Joe Clayton.
Fourth-placed Boldon CA travelled to Windscale and had to settle for a 2-2 draw.
They went behind after just two minutes, when Ryan Gray neatly scored from 15 yards, beating goalkeeper David Passmore.
Stephen Telford equalised with a beauty from 25 yards after 36 minutes, with goalkeeper James Dolan having no chance of making a save.
On 58 minutes, Boldon’s Dom Solomon pounced on a defensive mistake and scored from 15 yards, but the Cumbrians came back to make it 2-2 after 73 minutes, when Stephen Walker scored from the penalty spot.
Tomorrow night, Boldon CA travel to second-top neighbours Hebburn Town Reserves, who had a weekend off.
South Shields Reserves found third-top Redcar Athletic too hot to handle and succumbed to a 5-0 drubbing.
The visitors effectively had the game won in the first half hour, with two strikes from Andy Jennings, one a header, and Adam Preston’s 18-yard effort.
In the second half, further goals from Joe Bennett and Daniel Drazdauskas sealed a convincing win.
Bottom club Coxhoe Athletic almost came away with a victory away to second-bottom Stokesley SC.
Dylan Crooks opened the scoring for Coxhoe when a shot from edge of the box was spilled by goalkeeper Kieran Ezard, with Crooks tapping it in.
Stokesley had a penalty saved by goalkeeper Dan Scott, but, with a minute left, Ryan Rivis scored with a shot from inside the box to rescue a 1-1 draw..
Wolviston defeated Harton and Westoe CW 3-1 to keep up their good form.
Harton’s Kyle Pendergood brought down Nathan Bayes in the 30th minute and Famara Jatta scored the resulting penalty.
Ten minutes later, Wolviston doubled their lead with a breakaway goal. Nathan Bayes fed Phillip Otele, who made no mistake.
It was 3-0 just after half-time when a bad kick out from Harton goalkeeper David Haynes fell to Otele, who quickly slotted into an empty net.
Harton managed a consolation through Grant Pressling’s 71st minute header.
Leam Rangers succumbed 3-2 at home to Cleator Moor Celtic, who regained top spot with the victory.
A header from Jordan Fraser gave Leam the lead, only for Ryan Hall and a header from Callum Birdsall to give the Cumbrians a 2-1 advantage.
The home side forced an equaliser, courtesy of Nathan Bailey, but, with 10 minutes left, Hall scored his second from 20 yards to seal a narrow victory for Cleator Moor.
Darlington Reserves were beaten 3-2 at home by Richmond Town.
The visitors stormed three ahead thanks to Scott Ryan, Joshua Cartledge and a header from Simon Pinkney. Darlington rallied late on with efforts from Jamie O’Brien and Dale Milburn, but the Dalesmen held on for the win.