THE Washington bandwagon rolls on and they have now taken 26 points out of a possible 39 after managing just one from their first 10 Ebac Northern League Second Division games.
At the end of September, it was doom and gloom, but manager Stephen Hutchinson has engineered a remarkable turn-around since he took over and the Newtowners are now taking on and beating the best.
In-form Willington were the latest side to witness the transformation, and a four-goal victory at Hall Lane was nothing less than Washington deserved.
Mark Davison gave them the lead on 35 minutes from close range and three minutes later James Fairley’s angled shot beat goalkeeper David Moffat.
Just past the hour mark, Paul Kane produced a tremendous effort from 35 yards. Just before the end, Hutchinson’s side celebrated again as Alan Oliver struck inside the six-yard box.
Seaham Red Star missed the chance to go second when they were unexpectedly defeated 2-1 by fourth-bottom visitors Brandon United.
Connor Winter slotted past goalkeeper Chris Sawyer and Red Star held the lead for an hour before Kieran Weekes levelled. Five minutes later, a handling offence gave Kevin Hamilton the opportunity to drive in the winner from the penalty spot.
Chester-le-Street came close to denting Norton and Stockton Ancients’ promotion challenge. They twice led with a brace of goals from Tony Healer. Rocky Andrews scored the first equaliser and Dale Mulligan the second with only seven minutes remaining.
Two minutes later, Mulligan headed in the winner, with the Cestrians appealing that the ball hadn’t crossed the line.
There was only one goal in it, but Stokesley SC and Birtley Town produced a hugely-entertaining game which ended in Birtley’s favour when Damon Briggs rounded goalkeeper Daniel Linas in the second half.
South Shields are up to almost mid-table following their victory at Esh Winning, but they left it late before winning by the odd goal in three.
The Mariners led for 70 minutes courtesy of Luke Richardson but looked as if they might be denied all three points when Shaun Smith restored parity eight minutes from time.
With only a minute left on the clock ,Adam Burnicle was on target with the Mariners’ winning goal.
North Shields stretched their lead at the top of the table to seven points with an easy win at Whitehaven, where the goals flowed from Adam Scope (2), Joe Elliott and leading scorer Gareth Bainbridge. The Robins have now racked up 78 goals in 22 games and conceded just 14 times.
Ryton and Crawcrook Albion remain bottom after losing at Alnwick Town, who moved up to fifth from the basement with a crucial victory courtesy of goals from Keith Douglas, Tony Brown (penalty) and Dale Kennedy.