RCA ready for improving Cumbrians in the STL Northern League

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SUNDERLAND RCA will be wary of their visit to Penrith in the first division tomorrow.

At one stage, the Cumbrians were bottom but have improved considerably improved their position on the back of some excellent performances in recent weeks.

It will still be a major surprise if Neil Hixon’s side does not, at the very least, claim a point.

Second top Dunston UTS are at West Auckland who have climbed into fourth place while Whitley Bay are firm favourites to complete the double over Stokesley SC who they hammered last Saturday.

At the other end of the table South Shields will attempt to move further away from the relegation zone by beating Bishop Auckland and their changes are enhanced with the inclusion of Paul Talbot into a full strength side.

Jarrow Roofing have Ian Moore, Carl McMann and Ian Davison in contention for the home fixture with Guisborough Town but a blow for Billingham Synthonia ahead of their game at Consett is the decision of midfielder Kieran Edwards to join Sunderland RCA.

Chester-le-Street, who have slipped to fourth from bottom in Division Two, have been busy on the transfer front since the recent appointment of Anth Smith as manager.

He has brought in Jordan Fraser and Lee Collins from Crook Town, Richard Jordan (Ryhope CW) and Danny Lay who was previous with Sunderland RCA.

The quartet are expected to figure and although Northallerton are just one place and a point above the Cestrians, the home side were boosted by their midweek victory over promotion challengers Darlington RA.

Horden CW are back at the bottom of the STL Northern League Second Division after Whitehaven won for the first time, at Brandon United last night.

Greg Quayle buried his shot into the bottom corner of the net on 30 minutes, giving goalkeeper Ryan Hindhaugh no chance and early in the second period Kevin Connolly was left with a simple tap-in from close range.

Brandon never threatened and Whitehaven goalkeeper Stuart Petit hardly had a shot to save.

Horden CW travel to West Allotment Celtic and boss Brian Honour is confident of a result if his side replicate the form they showed earlier in the week.

He said: “I thought we had a very good first half against Alnwick Town last Saturday and that we were excellent at Ryton and Crawcrook Albion.

“We are now beginning to compete and when I’m able to field my strongest side I always believe we are in with a shout.”

Jack Honour, who was with Durham County U18s, returns along with Andrew Shingleton, but Lloyd Evans is playing with North Riding U18s tomorrow.

Easington Colliery host Brandon United and could be without five players. Chris Tarn, Darren George, Dale Crawford, Chris Hall and David Doughty are all expected to be missing.

Birtley Town go to Morpeth Town and manager Scott Oliver is hoping for a slice of luck after seeing his side beaten by final minute goals in the last two games.

“South Shields defeated us last weekend in the FA Carlsberg Vase when they scored in the 90th minute and it was worse still on Tuesday when we lost 6-5 at Whickham who also struck the winner in the last minute,” said Oliver who will need to give a fitness test to Matt Hornsby.

Team Northumbria line up with Alnwick Town in a crucial top two clash. Team have Mark Fenwick, Liam Clough, Christian Graham, Lee Scott, John Sherlock and captain Gavin Donoghue back to strengthen their challenge.

North Shields have moved off the bottom with three wins and two draws in their last five games.

Manager Anthony Woodhouse has signed James Harmison, brother of Durham County Cricket Stephen and son of Jim who played for the Robins when they defeated Halifax in the FA Cup in 1982.

James has come in from Ashington as has Paul Dunn and the pair will figure at home to third placed Darlington RA.