Shut-out suits Spennymoor

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THERE’S no change at the top of the Ebac Northern League First Division after leaders Darlington 1883 and Spennymoor fought out a goalless draw at Heritage Park last night.

The nearest to a goal in a competitive game between the top two came on the stroke of half-time when Moors striker Gavin Cogdon had a shot blocked. Mark Davison nipped the ball over the line but the effort was ruled offside.

Darlo gave a debut run-out to substitute Jonny Davis, whose outstanding performances for Hebburn Town impressed Quakers boss Martin Gray.

The 20-year-old has previously played for Ryhope CW, Sunderland RCA, Crook and Durham City.

Jason Ainsley’s Spennymoor would be the happier at the result, in front of an impressive crowd of 1,832.

They remain seven points behind Darlington (61) but have five games in hand. Moors also preserved the only unbeaten record of all the 24 teams.

Billingham Synthonia and Dunston UTS also failed to produce a goal in their draw.

Keiran Edwards had a low shot capably defended by the Tynesiders, for whom Dale Burrell headed over from a good position.

Synners’ Chay Liddle blazed over from close range and it was closer still on 87 minutes when the Teessiders almost snatched victory.

Nathan Johnson delivered a delightful free-kick which beat the wall and. with keeper Liam Connell rooted to his line, the ball came back off the post.

Bedlington Terriers moved fifth when they defeated Marske United 3-1, helped by two late goals.

Phil Bannister gave them a half-time advantage and after Jordan Hugill levelled, Bannister pressurised a defender before beating goalkeeper Oliver West in the 81st minute. Two minutes later, Martin Brittain hit a third for Terriers.

Penrith won the bottom-six clash 3-1 at Newton Aycliffe to move out of the relegation zone.

Matthew Read converted a penalty awarded for a foul by Danny Lambert, who atoned when he netted for Aycliffe early in the second period.

A superb 30-yard strike from Benjamin Jackson regained the initiative for Penrith and, with only a minute remaining, Scott Allison made sure of all three points for the Cumbrians.

Birtley Town are fourth from bottom in Division Two after they lost 4-1 at West Allotment Celtic, who struck three times in the opening half courtesy of Dean Lee, player-manager Paul Stoneman and David Dormand.

Birtley reduced the deficit with a lucky goal on 56 minutes. Wyn Fremlin’s free-kick rebounded off the crossbar and went into the net off goalkeeper Ryan Beal.

Birtley’s joy was short-lived, however, and Lee crashed in an unstoppable shot after 66 minutes.

Jarrow Roofing’s promotion challenge suffered a setback at Morpeth Town, who with several games in hand on all the sides above them, are also in contention.

Richie McLoughlin’s side led at the interval through Anthony Myers, but Morpeth had the better of the second half and scored courtesy of Lee Scott, Jordan Fry and Ryan Hutchinson.

Just before the end, Andrew Grant Soulsby claimed a second goal for Roofing.

North Shields are also in the promotion frame and enhanced their chances with victory at Ryton and Crawcrook Albion, who shot themselves in the foot.

With the score goalless, Ryton had Mark Nicholson sent off in the 46th minute and, from then on, it was almost all downhill.

James Harmison and Robert Nolan fired the Robins into a two-goal advantage. Although young David Backhouse reduced the deficit with a strong finish, Ryton leaked a third goal to Dean Holmes two minutes from time.