SUNDERLAND RCA gained a valuable point at Billingham Synthonia as they bid to stave off relegation from the Ebac Northern League First Division but they remain fourth-from-bottom, marginally ahead of Team Northumbria, who occupy the last relegation place.
David Lee’s side could hardly have made a better start at Central Avenue where they took the lead with barely a minute on the clock.
A cross-shot from John Jury took a deflection from his colleague Joe Hughes and found the net.
Synners created chances which they failed to take until RCA’s Danny Wray diverted the ball past his own goalkeeper Jonathan Carmichael in attempting to prevent Michael Sweet from getting in on goal.
Durham City dented West Auckland Town’s championship challenge when they were full value for a draw.
Both teams went close to scoring before the Citizens broke the deadlock on 24 minutes. An Ollie Hotchkiss corner was headed in at the far post by the unmarked Stephen Turnbull.
City goalkeeper Dean Caris saved superbly from Denis Knight but the striker was not to be denied and on 58 minutes he equalised following good work by Brian Close.
Spennymoor Town gained revenge for last week’s defeat in the FA Carlsberg Vase when Newcastle Benfield returned to the Brewery Field.
The only goal came early in the second half when Keith Graydon volleyed the ball into the top corner of the net following a cross by Andrew Stephenson.
Leaders Celtic Nation were on cup duty and Shildon had a free day. West Auckland and Spennymoor are third and fourth respectively while Ashington missed the chance to go third when they had to settle for a goal-less draw against relegation-threatened Morpeth Town.
Bedlington Terriers are also embroiled in the battle against the drop and their position wasn’t helped when Dunston UTS won by the odd goal in three.
Steve Goddard bagged a brace with Terriers’ goal coming in the 88th minute from Paul Watson.
Bishop Auckland played with 10 men for 76 minutes after having Keiran Megran sent off. He was shown a second yellow card by the 14th minute.
At this stage, an own goal by Ross McKeown had Bishops ahead but Team Northumbria battled back for a priceless point with Peter Watling their marksman.
Consett are the leading scorers with 98 goals after putting four past Newton Aycliffe, who were first to score through Tom Atkinson at the Belle Vue stadium.
Michael Mackay (2), Aristote Guerin Lakonga and Andrew Cuthbertson replied for the Steelmen, who are up to seventh place.
Hebburn Town twice came from behind to share the points with Crook Town for whom Chris Summers and Robbie Bird netted. Channon North scored the South Tynesiders’ first equaliser and five minutes from the end an effort by Shaun Reay found the net via a deflection.