Ebac Northern League
by Malcolm Pratt
SEAHAM Red Star continue to lead Division Two despite their impressive 21-match unbeaten sequence coming to an end.
Third-top Norton and Stockton Ancients condemned Red Star to a rare defeat with Lee Farrington scoring the only goal six minutes from time on Saturday.
Second-placed Washington also won by a single goal and they, too, left it late in the local derby with Birtley Town.
Adam McGuinness headed on a corner and James Fairley rifled the ball into the top of the net in the 70th minute.
The Mechanics and Norton are equal on points, two adrift of Seaham Red Star, while fourth-placed Team Northumbria are also in the race.
They went nap against Stokesley SC. David Dormand’s hat-trick included two penalties and there were also goals by Paul Anthony and Ben Dibb-Fuller. Greg Peel and Gerard Richardson claimed a couple of consolation goals for the visitors.
Hebburn Town are on the fringe of the promotion race and kept alive their chances with victory over Northallerton Town, when Shaun Reay and Channon North were the match-winners. Simon Pinkney equalised at one point for Northallerton.
At the other end of the table, Esh Winning improved their chances of steering clear of the relegation places when they won for the third consecutive time, defeating visitors Ryhope CW with an only goal by Paul Basey.
Chester-le-Street scored three times in the second half, through Ben Johnson (2) and Glen Hargrave, to take all three points from visitors Ryton and Crawcrook Albion.
Life doesn’t get any better for Crook Town, who are odds on favourites to be relegated from the First Division.
Despite holding fifth-top Jarrow Roofing to a 1-1 draw at the interval, they ended well beaten as the South Tynesiders struck five times in the second period to take their total to six.
Malcolm Morian rifled a hat-trick, Lewis Teasdale bagged a brace, with Shaun Vipond adding to the woes of the Millfield men, who managed two consolations from David Webster and Win Fremlin.
Crook are stranded with only three points from a possible 84 and Sunderland RCA, who were again without a fixture at the weekend, are second bottom with 16 points.
Martin Swales’ side, though, have several games in hand on all the teams battling against the drop.
Billingham Synthonia improved their prospects and dealt Celtic Nation’s chances a blow when they won the crucial Cumbrian battle by the odd goal in five.
Darren Moynan (own goal), Tommy Marron and Jonathan Coleby netted for the Teessiders, with Matthew Read and Aaron Roberts on target for Celtic Nation, who are now third bottom.
West Allotment Celtic and Newton Aycliffe and also embroiled in the relegation dogfight and Aycliffe are now up to sixth from bottom after seeing off their rivals with goals by Denis Knight and Stuart Banks (2).
Life is a lot more comfortable for Durham City and Bishop Auckland. The Citizens came out on top 3-0 at New Ferens Park, with goals by man-of-the-match Luke Carr, Nicky Allen and Kyle Fryatt.
Ian Chandler’s side are up to seventh, while Bishops remain ninth.
Leaders West Auckland Town’s fixture at Morpeth Town was postponed because of a waterlogged pitch and Marske United took advantage when they defeated second-placed North Shields at the Daren Persson Stadium.
It was not a good day for the Robins, who had Stuart Donnison sent off in the 15th minute and conceded two penalties which were converted by Craig Gott.
Adam Wheatley and Glen Butterworth made it four.
North Shields stay second, three points behind West Auckland, and Marske share third spot with Dunston UTS, who defeated Consett by the odd goal in five.
Dan Wilson (2) and Dale Burrell were the match winners, with Luke Sullivan and Michael Mackay on target for the Steelmen.