Sunderland West End conceded their first points of the season in last night’s top-of-the-table clash at Redcar Athletic.
The Seasiders’ biggest crowd for some time, close to 100, was treated to an absolute cracker of a game and a 2-2 draw was a fair reflection of the action.
Lee Smith intercepted a pass and drove past Redcar goalkeeper James Fleming with only 15 minutes gone.
It wasn’t until the hour mark that Lance Skelton headed past Chris Smith for the equaliser, but soon afterwards West End were ahead for a second time as Barry Turton drove home a 68th-minute penalty.
With just eight minutes remaining, Joe Ferguson delivered a tremendous direct free-kick past the wall and keeper Smith for Redcar’s equaliser.
Both teams were applauded off the field at the end of the enthralling contest in the Teesside fog.
West End – despite missing out on a momentous 10th successive win – remain five points ahead of second-top Redcar, with champions Stockton two further points worse off, albeit with two games in hand.
Anth Nelson’s West End side are without a game on Saturday, but Redcar can close the gap by winning at Annfield Plain.
Ashbrooke Belford House defeated Wolviston 4-3 in another entertaining clash, with a 92nd-minute penalty by Nathan Burrell, his second goal of the night, settling the issue at Silksworth Welfare Park.
Fortunes ebbed and flowed throughout, with Wolviston’s Chris Brown the first marksman.
Michael Young and Burrell then fired Ashbrooke in front and, after Chris Fairless levelled, Adam Hopps made it 3-2 for the home side.
But, in the last minute of normal time, Belford’s Kieron Stokoe put through his own goal and it looked as if Wolviston had claimed a point – but two minutes later Ashbrooke were awarded a penalty.
Belford are back in action at Horden CW in the Monkwearmouth Cup on Saturday.
Horden will look for better times at the weekend after succumbing 2-0 to Cleator Moor Celtic, whose scorers were Craig Scott and, in the final minute, Luke Close, last night.
Horden produced a much improved second-half performance after falling behind, but an equaliser eluded them before the visitors snatched their late clincher.
Boldon CA were convincingly beaten 3-0 by visitors Hartlepool for whom Alex Marshall, Ashley Clark and Carl O’Sullivan beat debutant goalkeeper Curtis Richardson, newly signed from neighbours Harton and Westoe CW.
Joe Kerridge had Harton and Westoe in front, but they went down 3-1 to visitors Richmond Town.
Liam Darville, with a brace and Mark Simms were the matchwinners.