WEST Auckland will be crowned champions of the STL Northern League if they beat Ashington in their last game of the season on Saturday, writes Malcolm Pratt.
The FA Vase finalists took another step towards the title last night when they hit Whitley Bay for six in a remarkable game which saw the Seahorses play the entire second half with nine men.
They had Craig McFarlane red-carded on 32 minutes, but still went in front five minutes later with a Paul Chow penalty.
A minute before the break, Chris Reid was also shown a straight red card and from then on it was one-way traffic.
John Campbell rifled four goals, including two penalties, with Michael Rae and Mattie Moffat also enhancing West’s goals’ difference. They have now scored 18 goals in their last three matches.
Spennymoor Town stay second, four points off the top with a game in hand on the leaders.
Two penalties by Gavin Cogden earned Jason Ainsley’s side three precious points at Bedlington Terriers.
Dunston UTS leap-frogged Sunderland RCA into third and although the Tynesiders can still end up top, it is highly improbable.
Nevertheless, they maintained their lingering hopes with victory at Guisborough Town, where Terry Galbraith scored the only goal.
Following 90 seasons in the top flight, relegated Tow Law bowed out with victory over Penrith at the Ironworks Road ground. Lee Diall scored both goals.
Craig Scott and Jonny Godsmark had Ashington two goals up inside 22 minutes at home to Billingham Synthonia, who suffered another blow with the dismissal of David Abel on 49 minutes.
With five minutes remaining, Shane Henry reduced the deficit and the Colliers had to hang on in the final few minutes.
In Division Two, Chester-le-Street lost their last home game 2-1 to Whitehaven, whose marksmen were David Duston and Leigh Dunn. A minute from time, Kevin McDonald replied.
H The remaining fixtures for the three sides contesting the First Division title are:
Tomorrow: Sunderland RCA v Dunston UTS; Saturday: Ashington v West Auckland Town, Shildon v Dunston UTS, Spennymoor Town v Billingham Synthonia.
Monday: Spennymoor Town v Dunston UTS.