Hixon is determined to give Darlington a tougher time

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MANAGER Neil Hixon is hoping that Sunderland RCA give a better account of themselves in tonight’s return Ebac Northern League First Division fixture with Darlington 1883.

When the sides met at Heritage Park on Saturday, the Quakers enjoyed a seven-goal romp after the Wearsiders twice reduced the deficit to a single goal.

“We didn’t do too badly until the last 20 minutes when we were absolutely blown away. They are by far and away the best Northern League side I’ve seen for several years but I’m confident we’ll do better on our Meadow Park pitch,” said Hixon.

RCA have slipped towards the relegation zone but Hixon is confident they are not in danger.

He said: “We’ve nine games to play and I’m certain we’ll pick up two or three wins along the way.”

Adam Drysdale, signed from Seaham Red Star on deadline day, will make his debut with Elliott Cutts and Michael Pattison also in the reckoning.

Neither Gary Shaw nor Nick Kane can play and doubts surround the availability of injured pair Jamie Clarke (back) and Nathan Monson (ankle).

Consett are just one place ahead of Sunderland RCA going into their game at struggling Penrith.

The Steelmen will be without several players. Carl Piecha, David Scorer, Anthony Lund, Scott Martindale and Keiran Martin are definite absentees.

In Division Two, Ryhope CW and Jarrow Roofing line up at Recreation Park in a vital fixture. Ryhope are second-top, just four points ahead of the South Tynesiders but they do have a significantly better goal difference which could be crucial.

Manager Martin Swales is without the suspended Greg Swansbury while James Dunn and Nathan Johnson face fitness tests.

Jarrow manager Richie McLoughlin has played down the importance of the match, saying: “I’ve been around too long to become fazed. We’ll go all out for a win and see what happens but this result won’t determine whether we clinch promotion.”

Roofing are without Dan Smith and Jamie Marshall is an injury doubt.

Seaham Red Star are seventh following a shock defeat by Esh Winning on Monday.

“It’s been the story of our season,” said secretary Kevin Turns. “We go on a really good run and then all of a sudden get well beaten.

“If we are to have any chance of making it into the three promotion places, we’ve got to win at Washington but it won’t be easy.”

Strikers Chris Goss and Channon North return and Daryl Donnelly, on loan from Blyth Spartans, could also be included in a strong line-up.

H Durham City edged into the top half of the First Division with a narrow victory over Shildon at New Ferens Park last night.

The only goal came on 55 minutes as Nicky Allen crossed from the left and Max Stoker produced a beautiful finish just inside the post which gave goalkeeper Jake Johnson no chance.

South Shields climbed off the bottom of the table after defeating rival strugglers Newton Aycliffe 3-2.

Danny Earl gave Aycliffe the lead but within a minute, Andrew Thompson levelled.

Just as two goals were scored within 60 seconds at the beginning of the game, so too were another couple at the end of the opening half. In the 45th minute Jonny Wightman fired the Mariners in front only for Tom Hinchley to restore parity immediately.

With 11 minutes remaining, Stephen Ramsey clinched the winner for the Shieldsmen. The Mariners, though, are still 13 points adrift of Newcastle Benfield, who currently occupy the third relegation place. The Tynesiders suffered another defeat, this time at the hands of Bishop Auckland who won with an early second-half strike by Andrew Johnson.

Dunston UTS won at Celtic Nation thanks to Lee McAndrew’s chip over goalkeeper Daniel Lowson.

In Division Two, Birtley Town went down to Northallerton Town, who scored immediately before the break through Colin Anderson and soon after the interval courtesy of Jonathan Burton.

Ryton and Crawcrook Albion beat Thornaby 2-1 after goals from Paul King and Paul Blakey, before Anthony Stephens replied late in the game.