SEAHAM Red Star took high-riding Gillford Park to the wire before losing a thrilling five-goals Ernest Armstrong Memorial Cup tie last night, writes MALCOLM PRATT.
The home side went ahead on 15 minutes as Mark Robinson drove into the net from the edge of the penalty area.
The Cumbrians levelled when Michael Reid slotted the ball home from 12 yards but five minutes into the second half Red Star were again in front.
In a goalmouth scramble, Kevin Gordon tapped in from just two yards. Seaham then held their own but were pegged back on 70 minutes when the visitors were awarded a penalty which Reid converted.
Just before the end the hopes of Stephen Cook’s side ended when Ryan Errington rifled the ball into the top corner, giving goalkeeper Paul McSween no chance.
Birtley Town conceded a two-goal lead to Hebburn Town in the STL Northern League Second Division.
Leading scorer Danny Smart celebrated his return by giving the home side an early lead and after an hour James Allsopp added a second.
Hebburn though rallied and a Paul Gardner brace, inside the space of eight minutes, earned them a point.
After conceding an early lead to Marcus Laing, Crook Town went in front courtesy of Graeme Liddle and Shaun Davies but Thornaby clinched a point with a Craig Skelton penalty.
Sunderland RCA were knocked off pole position in Division One by West Auckland Town who defeated Bishop Auckland 3-1 in the local derby.
West made a dream start, taking a second-minute lead through Danny Hindmarsh who converted following good work by Stephen Brown and Mattie Moffat.
Just before the interval Moffat was on target with a fine individual effort and midway through the second period substitute Martin Young just about put the game beyond the reach of Bishops.
The visitors suffered a further blow on 70 minutes when Lewis Brown was sent off but despite their numerical disadvantage, they pulled a goal back thanks to Andrew Johnson.
Whitley Bay are up to fourth following an easy 5-2 win at home to relegation-threatened Billingham Town.
Chris Fawcett (2), Damon Robson and Paul Chow had the Seahorses four goals ahead before three goals were scored in the final three minutes.
Alan Cossavella and Nicky Martin made the scoreline more respectable but in the last minute Whitley went five up with a second goal from Chow.