SUNDERLAND RCA jumped three places in the Ebac Northern League First Division with a priceless 2-0 victory over Marske United in the crucial bottom-of-the-table clash at Meadow Park last night.
David Lee’s side were in dream land when they went ahead before a minute was on the clock.
Straight from the kick-off, the ball was swept into the Marske penalty area and Kyle Fryatt rounded goalkeeper Robert Dean.
Marske exerted considerable pressure in the opening half but never seriously tested goalkeeper Josh Carmichael. The nearest they came to equalising was when the home defence had to hurriedly clear in a goalmouth scramble.
It wasn’t until the 82nd minute that RCA could relax. Gary Shields crossed and Gavin Barton made no mistake from five yards.
The Wearsiders are now four points clear of the relegation zone following good results for them from other games.
Morpeth Town slipped to fourth from bottom when they went down to relegated Billingham Town who won for only the second time in 36 attempts.
Although Nathan Evans was the match-winner when he slotted the ball into the net on 74 minutes, Billingham’s man-of-the-match was undoubtedly goalkeeper Joe Williamson who saved two penalties before the deadlock was broken.
Hebburn Town will almost certainly be relegated but they came within a couple of minutes of causing an upset when Ashington visited South Tyneside.
Channon North headed past keeper Karl Dryden on six minutes before Glen Taylor headed in Ashington’s equaliser midway during the opening half.
With only a couple of minutes remaining, it appeared Hebburn might gain only their 12th point of the season but they were denied when Marc Walton, who had been doubtful for the game, delivered a magnificent shot from 30 yards which left goalkeeper Gary Rogers stranded.
At the other end of the table, Celtic Nation extended their lead over Shildon to seven points although they’ll be disappointed at only gaining a draw at home to Billingham Synthonia.
The Cumbrians went in front on 19 minutes as a corner from Jim Patterson was back-heeled into the net by Michael Rae. It was nip and tuck throughout and Synners levelled in the 71st minute when Jack Bradbury pounced on a loose ball and drove past goalkeeper Aaron Taylor.
Bishop Auckland succumbed at Heritage Park to Newton Aycliffe, who took the lead against the run of play in the 40th minute.
Tom Atkinson broke clear and when he was brought down by Chris Storey, Stuart Owen drove the spot-kick past goalkeeper Scott Pocklington.
Jamie Owens made it two after 71 minutes, picking up a loose ball and advancing before firing into the net, even though Pocklington got a hand on the ball.
Bishops then missed a twice-taken penalty and in the last minute former Ryhope CW striker John Butler had an effort disallowed.
Whitley Bay drew for only the second time this season, at home to Crook Town.
The first half was played at a frantic pace but few chances were created until the 44th minute when Michael McMullen let fly and the ball just beat goalkeeper Barry Poskett.
Crook came out strongly for the second period and deservedly equalised with a close-range finish by Adam Nichols after a free kick from Craig Price took a deflection.