Northern League: Dylan Elliott’s cracker keeps Sunderland RCA flying with victory over Ashington battlers

Sunderland RCA's Stephen Callen (red/white) battles against Ashington's Ben Christiansen at  Meadow Park on Saturday.  Picture by Kevin Brady.
Sunderland RCA's Stephen Callen (red/white) battles against Ashington's Ben Christiansen at Meadow Park on Saturday. Picture by Kevin Brady.

Sunderland RCA came from behind to beat Ashington 2-1 at Meadow Park to rise to eighth place in Division One on Saturday.

An intriguing clash came to life on the half hour mark when the visitors had defender Ryan Bell sent off for hauling down Nathan O’Neill as he moved to get on the end of a brilliant through ball.

RCA went close with a Colin Larkin header as they piled the pressure on, helped by their man advantage.

But Ashington capitalised on a rare error by home keeper Neal Bussey to go ahead on 43 minutes, Tony Stephenson pouncing to tap in from point-blank range.

RCA, though, were instantly back on level terms, with skipper Ross Preston leading by example, smashing home a snapshot from 10 yards for the fired-up hosts.

Ashington worked gamely in the second half as RCA showed the appetite to win the game and they were rewarded when Dylan Elliott hit a fierce right-footed drive past goalkeeper Conor Grant three minutes from time.

The goal stemmed from a throw on the RCA right which should have gone the other way, and Ashington striker Michael Clinton was red-carded for his complaint.

RCA manager Martin Swales said: “We are flying at the moment and really peppered their goal and their goalkeeper, Grant, had a great game.

“They were well-organised and hard to break down, but we dominated play and should have scored a few more than we did. I am trying to get a new striker in, hopefully this week.

“We are pleased with the team and we just want to keep winning.

“It’s hard to leave players out at present, but it’s a nice headache to have, as we try and push up the league.”

Ryhope CW journeyed to second-top Marske United and went down 2-0 to an in-form Seasiders outfit.

Craig Gott was the star turn for Marske, who trail front-runners Morpeth Town by eight points but have three games in hand.

Gott opened the scoring after just 12 minutes, when Danny Earl was upended in the box, with Gott making no mistake with the resulting spot-kick, though keeper Jonny Ball went the right way.

Ryhope were in the game all the way, and went close to finishing off a searching Corey Nicholson cross, but their hopes of snatching a point ended in second-half stoppage time, when Gott lashed a great volley into the corner of the net, from Butterworth’s cross.

Seaham Red Star travelled to bottom club Billingham Synthonia and were left frustrated, following a 0-0 draw.

A week on from a 7-3 win over the same opponents, Robbie Bird missed a couple of chances either side of half-time.

Red Star had a glorious chance to win the game late on, when Callum Munro was fouled in the box, but Thomas Scott’s strike from the penalty spot was well saved by goalkeeper James Dawson.

That earned Synners only their fourth point of the season.

Washington again put up a good display at high-flying at Shildon, but went down 2-1.

James Clark’s second-bottom side held the Railwaymen until the last minute of the first half, but good work from Jack Blackford caused chaos and his cross was knocked in for an own goal by Andy Brown, who gave goalkeeper Daniel Gladstone no chance.

On 67 minutes, it was 2-0 as Matty Robson scored a beauty from a free-kick.

In injury time, the Mechanics pulled one back through Brown’s penalty, but Shildon held on for the win to stay fourth.

Consett came back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 at Penrith, rising to sixth in the table as a result.

The Cumbrians took a two-goal lead through Shaun Gardner and Chris Wraight, who beat goalkeeper Ross Coombe with a dipping cross-shot.

The fightback began when Michael Sweet ran clear to steer his shot past keeper Stuart Dixon. Right on half-time, Ryan McKinnon equalised with a memorable long-range shot from halfway.

Consett’s winner came in the 76th minute, when Joshua Gray cracked one in from fully 25 yards.

West Auckland Town battled back well to claim an excellent 2-2 draw at North Shields.

West were 2-0 down inside half an hour, after James Luccock and Kevin Hughes both scored for the Robins. But Nathan Fisher reduced the deficit with a neat finish and then, with just eight minutes left, Ross Colquhoun headed in an equaliser from a corner.

Stockton Town lost 3-1 at lowly Bishop Auckland, with all the goals coming in the first half.

Fred Woodhouse gave the visitors a ninth-minute lead, bundling the ball home, but Bishops came roaring back with goals from Shaun Ryder and Priestley Griffiths, who converted a penalty after Harrison Scott was fouled.

Ian Ward made it 3-1 on 35 minutes and, although Griffiths missed a second-half penalty, the Two Blues secured a vital win.

Morpeth Town went eight points clear at the top, thanks to a 2-1 win at Team Northumbria, although they left it late.

Sean Taylor gave the Highwaymen a 76th minute lead, only for Josh Bynoe to equalise seven minutes later. However, with just five minutes remaining, sub Mark Davison headed past keeper Stefan Holden to secure all three points.

Fifth-placed Dunston UTS were shocked by a 3-0 home loss to Newcastle Benfield, who had Paul Brayson, Jake Orrell and Joe Hailes on target.

Whitley Bay had to settle for a 1-1 draw at home to Newton Aycliffe.

Tom Potter gave Bay a 24th-minute lead, following a good team move, but Stuart Banks’ piledriver soon levelled it up. Aycliffe had Aaron Brown sent off in the 73rd minute, but they held on for a point.

Guisborough Town put on a late show to beat Jarrow Roofing 4-2, boosting their survival push.

Roofing went ahead through Dennis Knight’s 59th minute strike, but the Priorymen rallied to score four goals in just 16 minutes, through Ben Hugill, Mason McNeil, Steven Roberts and Louis Goldsack, before Anthony Myers’ late strike made it 4-2.