RYHOPE CW’s eight-match unbeaten sequence in Division Two came to an end at Thornaby, who maintained their recent surge up the table.
Nathan O’Neill and Richard Hodgson were on target for Gary Pearson’s Ryhope, with Theo Furness and Keiran Edwards replying.
With only five minutes left, Thornaby were awarded a penalty which resulted in Ryhope’s Philip Hall receiving a second yellow card. Goalkeeper Jonathan Ball saved the spot-kick from Nathan Porritt, but, when the ball was returned into the goalmouth, former Middlesbrough youngster Porritt headed in the winner.
Chester-le-Street succumbed to Darlington RA for whom Michael Hepplewhite scored the only goal and Birtley Town went down 3-2 at Ryton and Crawcrook Albion. Ryan Burnyeat completed a hat-trick, scoring the last-minute winner. Lee Best and Dan Quine replied.
Second-top Washington and third-placed Team Northumbria didn’t play, but their promotion bids alongside champions Seaham Red Star were boosted when their rivals conceded points.
Fourth-top Norton and Stockton Ancients went down 2-1 at Northallerton, who had a two-goal lead from Martin Butterworth and Aaron Ramsbottom before Tom Bligh replied two minutes from time.
Fifth-placed Hebburn Town, with games in hand on the three teams above them, had to settle for a 1-1 draw at Whickham, for whom Levi Oman cancelled out Chris Smith’s first-half goal.