Ryhope power on

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A COMBINATION of frozen and waterlogged pitches devastated the Ebac Northern League programme and only three games were played in each division.

Ryhope CW maintained a five-point lead in Division Two with a comprehensive 4-0 victory at home to Esh Winning.

John Butler fired them into an interval lead before two goals in a minute early in the second period ended any hopes Esh Winning harboured of fighting their way back into the game.

Michael Charlton drove into the net on 55 minutes and almost immediately James Cook was on target with his header. Just before the end, Stephen Moody completed the scoring with another clinical finish.

Pre-season, Crook Town were being touted as potential champions and after a slow start, their form has taken off.

They are now second-top and although five points adrift of Ryhope CW, have a game in hand on the Wearsiders.

The Millfield side’s latest success was at Washington where they coasted to a 3-0 victory.

Richard Hodgson was first to strike, slotting past goalkeeper Chris Bannon following a free- kick on 16 minutes.

It wasn’t until the 63rd minute that the Newtowners conceded the second goal when Chris Wallace went past a number of defenders and left Bannon helpless with a fine solo effort. Craig Hughes made it three, latching onto a through ball and lobbing Bannon.

Referee Martin Docherty was injured and had to be replaced during the interval.

Whitehaven moved into the top six with a 4-1 victory over bottom-of-the-table Alnwick Town. Craig Robson was an early marksman and before the interval the Cumbrians romped into a three-goal lead courtesy of Kevin Connolly and Robson.

Brian Murray cut the deficit but just before the end Connolly was again on target.

In Division One, South Shields remain bottom after losing 2-0 to Shildon at Filtrona Park.

Ben Wood was the architect of the opening goal on 11 minutes and Jamie Owens, unmarked, had the simple task of heading into the net.

Jonny Wightman forced Shildon goalkeeper Keith Finch into making a good save before the visitors increased their advantage in the 54th minute with a direct free-kick by Robert Briggs.

Bishop Auckland moved to fourth top when they claimed a last-gasp winner over Ashington at Woodhorn Lane.

Bishop Auckland’s Andrew Johnson struck the woodwork and Ashington’s Glen Taylor hit the crossbar before Dion Raitt headed in the only goal a minute from the end.

Hebburn Town defeated Newcastle Benfield 3-1 following an incident-packed game.

After just two minutes a mis-hit shot by Tony Stephenson fell into the path of Dan Kirkup and he side-footed into the Benfield goal from close-range.

In the 35th minute, Benfield defender David Coulson was taken to hospital with a knee injury and two minutes later the home side equalised with a header by Gary Ormston.

Midway through the second half, Hebburn defender Jeff Forsyth was sent off when shown a second yellow card and five minutes afterwards, Paul Gardner restored the lead to the South Tynesiders.

In the late stages Benfield pressed, searching for the equaliser, but left the door open for Aaron Croft to complete the scoring.