Robert Briggs’ injury mars Sunderland RCA’s charge to the top

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SUNDERLAND RCA moved to the top of the STL Northern League First Division with last night’s victory over Stokesley SC, but their celebrations were muted following an injury to Robert Briggs.

With 14 minutes remaining he suffered a bad shoulder injury and after being treated on the field by a paramedic, an ambulance was called for and he was taken to hospital.

Briggs, who is on loan from Gateshead, scored in a one-sided first half when Neil Hixon’s side should have gone in with a much bigger lead than two goals.

They had numerous chances, but accepted only two, when Adam McGuinness fired past goalkeeper Justin Hutchinson before Briggs headed home.

RCA hit both the post and bar, but after the break, the Wearsiders hardly threatened.

Following the hour’s delay, Stokesley shocked the home side when Nathan Porritt converted a penalty, but RCA held onto their lead to moved into top spot.

Seaham Red Star’s relegation fears in the Second Division were exacerbated when they crashed to a five-goals defeat against Crook Town.

A promising first-half performance was followed by some indifferent defending in the second period when the visitors scored four of their goals.

Kyle Davis fired them into a 15th-minute lead.

By the hour Davis had completed his hat-trick and 20 minutes from the end, Kevin Devine took advantage of a defensive lapse to make it four.

Crook were not finished and on 80 minutes Brian Fairhurst drove the ball into the net to complete a miserable night for the East Durham side.

Birtley Town manager Scott Oliver finally had his revenge on Whickham. In three years, he had never tasted success, but a first-half penalty by Craig Marron proved sufficient.

EASINGTON Colliery manager Paul Adamson is hoping to have two new players in his line up for tonight’s STL Northern League Second Division game at home to Darlington RA.

John Monahan is expected to move from Seaham Red Star and Carl Garside from Thornaby.

After defeating Red Star and gaining a creditable draw at Gillford Park, the Colliers were disappointed at the weekend when they lost to Brandon United.

“We had two very good games so we’ve got to bounce back quickly and try and get a result tonight, although its going to be difficult with RA pushing strongly for promotion” added Colledge.

Dan Flounders, Chris Tarn and Robert Huntley are definitely out but Chris Hall is available.

Easington, meanwhile, have presented engraved clocks to Alan Purvis, who recently stood down as secretary after 23 years and 30 years as a member of the committee and to Billy Corner, another stalwart.

“During the closed season the stand will be named ‘The Alan Purvis Stand’. It was the least we could do for Alan and Billy who have been remarkably loyal servants for so long” said Colledge.

The semi-finals of the Durham Challenge Cup also take place tonight.

Spennymoor Town, chasing a third consecutive First Division Championship, start favourites against Esh Winning who are down to ninth in Division Two after suffering defeat at the weekend.

In the other semi, Billingham Town face a difficult test against a Gateshead XI at the International Stadium.