A SECOND-HALF fight back earned Ebac Northern League side Sunderland RCA a share of the points in the Tyne Wear derby at Newcastle Benfield.
The Wearsiders made a disappointing start when they leaked two goals inside half an hour. James Luccock split the defence and Tony Stephenson made no mistake firing past goalkeeper Jonathan Carmichael.
Benfield doubled their lead, with Steve Bowey heading in from close-range and inspired by their two successes, the home side dominated the first half.
RCA though came out strongly for the second period and were back in the game on 55 minutes when Callum Patton lobbed goalkeeper Andrew Grainger.
Gavin Barton drove home the equaliser on 74 minutes to set up an exciting finale. Benfield’s Richie Slaughter hit the crossbar and RCA had a goalbound effort cleared off the line as both sides went for the win.
After trailing to Marc Walton’s 15th-minute goal, Durham City went in front against Ashington at New Ferens Park. Just before the interval Craig Ellison restored parity and early in the second half Max Stoker edged the Citizens in front.
When City were slow to clear, Dean Briggs equalised with a low drive and the home side then conceded the winner to Walton, who beat Rhys Jobling when he broke clear.
Shildon, beaten by Crook Town on Friday night, remain top but only by one point from Celtic Nation, who hit bottom-of-the-table Billingham Town with a humiliating 11-0 defeat.
Wilf Constantine’s side simply wilted once the Cumbrians went in front after 26 minutes and the goals flowed from Colin McMenamin (3), Michael Rae (3), Jonathan Allen (2) , Peter Murphy, Mark Boyd and Gary Rowntree.
Spennymoor Town are third and West Auckland Town fifth after they shared the points at the Brewery field. Moor’s Kallum Griffiths was sent off on 33 minutes and West’s Brian Close was also red-carded a minute before the interval.
It was former Barnsley player Dennis Knight who broke the deadlock with his 55th-minute strike and 12 minutes from time Daniel Moore was on target for Spennymoor. The action-packed game attracted a crowd of 640.
Hebburn Town moved off the bottom when they claimed only their third point of the season, at Team Northumbria, who led through Peter Watling until Calvin McMahon converted a 90th-minute penalty.
The two teams are in the bottom three, along with Billingham Town while Morpeth Town eased their precarious position with a crucial win at Penrith courtesy of Michael Chilton, Steven Anderson and Shaun Taylor, with a brace. Martin Coleman, Phil Storey and Steven Rigg kept the Cumbrians in the game until the final whistle.
At the end of August, Bedlington Terriers led the table and following the September programme they were sixth but a near-disastrous two months has seen them plunge to fifth-from-bottom.
Their latest defeat was at the hands of Whitley Bay who gained revenge for a 3-0 defeat at the start of the season. Paul Chow, Craig McFarlane and Phil Airey, on loan from Blyth Spartans, were on target for the Seahorses.