THERE was a double boost to Sunderland RCA’s STL Northern League championship aspirations when they coasted to victory at Ashington and Spennymoor Town were surprisingly defeated by Jarrow Roofing.
The Colliers enjoyed more of the possession in the early stages and it was against the run of play when Neil Hixon’s side broke the deadlock.
Andy Jennings, who was a thorn in the side of the home defence all night, latched onto a through ball and his early strike from 20 yards caught goalkeeper Karl Dryden flat-footed.
Shortly afterwards, Jennings was again on target with a shot on the turn from just six yards.
It got better for the Wearsiders on 40 minutes when a cross by Ian Davidson found Mark Davison who gave Dryden no chance with a thumping header.
Two minutes after resuming, Davidson made it four, turning the ball into the net at the far post.
Although the three other contenders for the title had games in hand, RCA now have a nine-point lead over Spennymoor Town, who suffered a big shock at relegation-threatened Jarrow Roofing.
Sonny Andrews gave Jason Ainsley’s side the advantage on 44 minutes but in an end-to-end contest, Ashley Davis restored parity.
Craig Nelson then put Roofing in front only for Leon Ryan to again level the scores.
When Nelson was up-ended, Paul Robinson converted the penalty and in the last minute Nelson completed a crucial victory for Richie McLoughlin’s team.
Spennymoor had Michael Laws and Keith Graydon sent off in the second period.
Jarrow are still in the relegation zone because Penrith, who are fourth from bottom, edged Guisborough Town by the only goal. Martin Coleman sealed the points with a clinical finish from outside the penalty area.
In Division Two, Chester le Street hammered Whitehaven 8-2 in Cumbria. Callum Patton rifled a hat-trick, Scott Swanston bagged a brace with Jack Honour, Alex Ryan and Craig Robson (og) also finding the net. Scott Pears and Stuart Shaw replied for the hosts.
Tonight, Horden CW have the chance to leap-frog third-from-bottom Seaham Red Star if they claim just one point from their Second Division game at North Shields.
Only a few weeks ago the Robins were in with an excellent chance of claiming one of the three promotion places but their hopes are now virtually extinguished.
Washington have an attractive game at the Nissan Sports Complex against Gillford Park.
who are still in contention for a move into the top flight.