Ryhope CW are not there yet, but they are just a whisker away from claiming promotion from the Ebac Northern League Second Division.
They will clinch a return to the top flight with a win at Hebburn Town tomorrow.
On Tuesday, they defeated Brandon United 3-2 and there was another close result when the sides met again last night, this time at Brandon, despite far from their best
Kieran Duffy-Weekes delivered a direct free-kick past the wall and Ryhope goalkeeper Chris Rookes for a home opener. Tom Bott levelled, then Chris Trewick was the toast of Ryhope when he hit an 86th-minute winner, poking home a Kyle Davis cross. Ryhope relied on some superb saves from Rookes to keep Brandon at bay.
Gary Pearson’s team visit Hebburn tomorrow and although Nathan O’Neill returns from suspension, the manager will need to check on the fitness of Mattie Weirs, Lee Chapman and Leon Ryan before announcing his side.
The victory kept already-promoted South Shields waiting to land the title.
The battle for the two remaining promotion places in Division Two could be clearer after tomorrow’s match of the day between third-top Chester-le-Street and fourth-placed Billingham Synthonia.
Only one point separates the pair, although the Cestrians still have three games to play whereas Synners complete the season at Chester Moor Park.
“We probably blew our chances when we failed to defeat Brandon United and Ryton and Crawcrook Albion,” said Synners secretary Graham Craggs.
“I thought tomorrow’s game would be the decider, but now we are very much the outsiders and even if we win tomorrow there’s every chance we could still be overtaken by Team Northumbria and the Cestrians.”
South Shields will take a big support to lowly Crook Town tomorrow, with a win required to clinch the championship for Jon King’s side.
The Millfield ground could host its biggest crowd since Crook were in the FA Vase quarter-final against Bury Town 10 years ago.
Easington Colliery edged past Darlington RA following a 10-goal thriller last night.
Four goals ahead at the interval thanks to Joe Kerridge (2), Reece Kelly and Stephen Bogie, the Colliers were pegged back to 4-3 as James Wilson, Kristian Halliday and Darren Kokes replied.
It went 5-3 in Easington’s favour when Alex Grocott headed into his own net, but, for a second time, RA roared back and Halliday cut the deficit to a single goal.
But eight minutes from time Bogie was again on target to ease Easington to an exciting 6-4 victory which keeps them in sixth position.
Easington, with only two games left, are looking to cement a top-eight finish and complete an excellent first season back in the league.
Assistant boss Craig Parkinson said: “There have been massive pluses and we have taken some big scalps to prove we can compete at this level.
“We have plans in place to make a big push for promotion next season.”
The Colliers visit Darlington RA at Brinkburn Road boosted by the inclusion of Bryan Norton, Connor O’Neil and Shaun Smith.
Ian Redman, Chris Freeman, Nick Doyle, Aidan Goodey and Dan Martin, however, are all on the sidelines.