ASHBROOKE Belford House took Stockton Town to the wire before losing in the Shipowners’ Cup final two weeks ago, but they were unable to mount a similar challenge when the sides met in the Wearside League at Silksworth on Saturday – and the Teessiders were duly crowned champions for a third year in a row.
Kallum Hannah failed with an early penalty for the visitors, but the goalscoring predator atoned, scoring twice in a 3-0 victory.
Adam Nicholson was also on target and Stockton, who have conceded only two points in 33 games, now have an unassailable lead over Easington Colliery.
The Colliers are in a stronger position to end runners-up after they defeated bottom club Annfield Plain 3-2 and nearest challengers Cleator Moor Celtic were held to a draw by Horden CW.
It wasn’t exactly plain sailing for Easington at Derwent Park, where Plain led for 50 minutes through Jamie Price’s strike.
Once Adam Drysdale levelled after an hour, the home side wilted, with Drysdale and Farran Pope giving the visitors a two-goal cushion.
However, when Price halved the deficit with his second goal, Annfield sensed they were in with a chance of causing a big upset. The Colliers, though, held on.
Fourth-top Horden CW completed their season with a 1-1 draw at Cleator Moor, for whom Leigh Dunn scored before Daniel Turner fired in an equaliser.
Sunderland West End’s aim to finish fifth receded with a 1-0 defeat at Jarrow, with Peter Kane’s diving header past goalkeeper Neal Bussey proving decisive.
With one game to play, Silksworth CW will end at least mid-table following a 3-0 victory at Prudhoe Tow, courtesy of strikes by Adam Storey (2) and Matthew Bray.
Annfield Plain are wooden spoonists and Seaton Carew are now second-bottom – their lowest point at any stage of the season – after they went down 3-1 in their derby at Hartlepool.
Mattie Gardner and Sam Cook had Pools two up by the 14th minute, but, after Luke Hogan halved the deficit, Seaton were in with a chance. In the last minute, Lee Jones ended their hopes by converting a penalty.
Leam Rangers moved out of the bottom two with a 1-0 victory at Wolviston, where they had Brodie Simpson sent off in the 75th minute. They still managed an 88th-minute penalty winner from Connor Halpin.
Spennymoor Town Reserves were comfortable 4-1 victors at Boldon CA, who trailed 3-0 to efforts from Reece Brown (2) and Ross Morrow.
Although Adam Smith threw CA a lifeline, Gavin Brown quickly restored Moors’ three-goal cushion.
Redcar Athletic went nap at home to Harton and Westoe CW, with man-of-the-match Lance Skelton rifling four goals before Ben Cooper claimed a consolation. Sam Webster hit Redcar’s fifth.
Regular marksman Mark Sims fired home a 67th-minute penalty for Richmond Town in their 1-1 draw with Whitehaven, with Craig Robson levelling. Three men, two from Whitehaven were sent off, after the same 85th-minute incident.