Crucial time for trio in the STL Northern League

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THREE sides battling to avoid relegation from the STL Northern League First Division are in action tonight when crucial points will be at stake.

Ryton, who have taken only three points from 32 games, appear doomed but two performances in the last week will give them hope that they could yet avoid the drop.

They lost to West Allotment Celtic and Ashington, conceding only three goals in the two matches, and desperately need all three points at Penrith, who are also too near the relegation zone for comfort.

Esh Winning are second bottom and West Allotment Celtic occupy the other relegation place before their visit to rejuvenated Jarrow Roofing.

Celtic have won their last two games but could find it difficult at Boldon as Roofing boss Richie McLoughlin has considerably strengthened his squad in recent weeks.

Stokesley are another side in trouble, fourth from the basement and will not relish visiting top-six side West Auckland Town, who scored five goals on their travels at the week-end.

At the other end of the table, Newcastle Benfield will look to consolidate fourth place by defeating Ashington at Woodhorn Lane.

Victory would put the Tynesiders within a couple of points of Consett and only six adrift of leaders Shildon, who have played more games than the three sides immediately below them.