SUNDERLAND RCA couldn’t halt Celtic Nation’s Ebac Northern League championship challenge when the sides met at wind-swept Meadow Park on Saturday.
Two goals in the opening 30 minutes had the Wearsiders chasing the game and just before the end the Cumbrians cemented a 3-0 victory which lifted them back into pole position.
Peter Murphy headed past goalkeeper Josh Carmichael after 24 minutes and shortly afterwards Martin Coleman was in the right position to head home following a goalmouth scramble.
Celtic took a stranglehold on the game which they never looked like foregoing. They played some excellent football, especially in the second half and just before the end Murphy gave Carmichael no chance with a volley from 25 yards.
Durham City goalkeeper Lewis Brass, on loan from Carlisle United, prevented the Citizens from suffering a heavier defeat at Dunston UTS, who created a number of chances but claimed only two in the second half.
Early on, Scott Fenwick and Denver Morris went close for the visitors but the introduction of Jonny Wightman at half-time proved to be pivotal.
He breathed new life into the home attack and only the brilliance of Brass restricted him from opening the scoring until the keeper was finally beaten on 69 minutes. Nicky Kane provided the opening and Wightman crashed the ball into the net. He then completed a good move in the 86th minute to earn the man-of-the-match accolade.
Shildon, who defeated Bishop Auckland on Friday night, are second-top and West Auckland Town third after they came from behind to defeat Marske United for who John Alexander was a third-minute scorer.
Ashley Coffey restored parity before Marske suffered a double blow. After 57 minutes they went behind to a Steven Richardson header and six minutes later were reduced to 10 men as Adam Wheatley was shown a straight red card.
Any hopes the Seasiders harboured of saving the game ended with Robbie Briggs claiming the third decisive goal for West 11 minutes from the end.
Ashington are staying the pace and victory over Penrith enabled them to retain fourth spot. Marc Walton and Glen Taylor were their matchwinners with Richard Faustino on target for the Cumbrians.
At the end of August, Bedlington Terriers were top and following September’s programme they were sixth but they are now fifth from bottom after a five-goal blitz at Spennymoor Town.
Surprisingly, Terriers went in front courtesy of Paul Watson but from then on it was all downhill as Liam Henderson (2) , Chris Mason, Gavin Cogdon and Andrew Johnson all struck.
At the bottom, there’s still no light at the end of a very dark tunnel for Billingham Town. They managed to field a full complement of players but suffered an 8-0 mauling at Consett whose marksmen were Michael Mackay (3), Luke Sullivan (3), Callum Smith and Aristote Guerin Lakonga.