Whitley Bay punish Durham with a four-goal blitz

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DURHAM City failed to halt Whitley Bay’s challenge for third position in the Ebac Northern League First Division when they crashed to a four-goals defeat at New Ferens Park last night, writes Malcolm Pratt.

The Citizens created one or two reasonable chances before going behind when a shot by Dave Pounder from the edge of the penalty area squirmed under the body of goalkeeper Gareth Young.

From then on, City more than held their opponents, but their hopes of saving the game just about ended as they conceded two goals in nine minutes early in the second period.

The Seahorses doubled the advantage on 53 minutes with Paul Robinson setting up Paul Chow and he fired past the advancing Young.

Chow then took advantage of a defensive blunder to curl a right-foot shot inside the far post.

Although Joe Barwick headed against the Whitley upright on 86 minutes, the next goal was again credited to the Bay with Kyle Downey lobbing Young from 18 yards.

Spennymoor Town are keeping the pressure on Darlington 1883 as the pair battle it out for the championship.

Jason Ainsley’s side defeated Team Northumbria 2-0 on Tyneside. The first goal came on 21 minutes when Callum Griffiths tapped in at the front post and then Stephen Richardson buried his shot into the net from 12 yards.

Moors remain third top and although 23 points adrift of the Quakers, have eight games in hand on their rivals. They continue to boast by far the best defensive record in the entire league having leaked a miserly 15 goals in 26 games.

H With Saturday’s programme again devastated by the weather, Ebac Northern League secretary Tony Golightly and the clubs are desperate for tonight’s fixtures to go ahead.

Sunderland RCA make the long journey to relegation-threatened Penrith with 15 games still to play by the end of April and at this stage, it is expected that the season will not be extended.

The League makes every attempt to complete the campaign by the stipulated date of the last Saturday in April and this is again Golightly’s aim.

Dunston UTS, who are eyeing a top-eight finish, host Guisborough Town and will definitely miss Stephen Goddard who is working.

Michael Dixon returns to the squad and there is a chance that Dale Burrell will play a part after recovering from an injury.

Ashington are at Hebburn Town, who have lost 10 of their last 11 games.

Colliers’ boss Gary Middleton goes without injured pair Phill Bell and David Molloy while Andrew Dugdale and James Taylor will need their fitness assessed before kick-off.

South Shields, effectively 18 points from safety because of a vastly inferior goals difference compared to fourth from bottom Penrith, badly need all three points at Consett who are themselves not clear of the threat of relegation.

It’s top versus bottom when West Auckland Town have home advantage over Norton and Stockton Ancients, who look doomed.

The Teessiders need to make up a 21 points gap on Penrith and with time running out, will require to perform a big upset tonight if they are to have any chance of retaining top-flight status.

Although West will not win the championship, they are playing for third place and after suffering defeat in their last outing, will be looking to get back on track at the expense of Norton.

A number of sides are battling to avoid the drop from Division Two, including Brandon United who are fifth from the basement ahead of their crucial game at Tow Law Town.

Birtley Town are not out of the woods yet, but look relatively safe going into their fixture at Whitehaven where they will be hard pressed to get a result.

Teams from the North East find it difficult to field full-strength sides in Cumbria because players can’t get away from work and Birtley are no exception.

Manager Scott Oliver said: “I’ve got 15 players, but the figure includes four from the youth squad.”