Ryhope CW roared to a sensational 6-1 victory over second-top Consett to make it four wins in a row in Division One last night.
The magnificent success lifted Gary Pearson’s men 11 points clear of the relegation places, still with games in hand, and saw the Steelmen drop to third.
Ryhope made a perfect start, when Ben Riding found the net with his header in the sixth minute, beating goalkeeper Ross Coombe.
Two goals in four minutes put Ryhope into a commanding 3-0 lead, with Nat Skidmore’s fine free-kick from just outside the box and Matty Weirs, from the penalty spot, stunning the visitors.
Ryhope went 4-0 up in the second half, courtesy of Josh Home-Jackson, who sidefooted home a cross from the left, before Calvin Smith responded for Consett, with a neat strike from just inside the box.
Joey Melvin, after a well-worked one-two, and James Ellis, firing home after a rebound, completed the rout for the outstanding home side
Ryhope are back in action tomorrow, with an attractive home clash against Shildon and hope for a big crowd to help their push for five in a row.
Manager Pearson said: “We still have Chris Wallace and Kyle Davis missing and on Tuesday night, we picked up another injury, to midfielder Jake Winship.
“He needed stitches to his ankle and will miss the game and Danni Lay will be missing due to work commitments.
“Chris Trewick picked up an ankle injury last Saturday when we played Team North, so he too will also be out.
“However, I do have defenders Elliott Woods and Ben Riding fit and we have around 15/16 players to choose from.
“The games are coming in thick and fast now, and they will take their toll on the squad.
I just hope we have a big enough squad in the run-up, to the end of the season.”
Sunderland RCA, up to seventh place, face a tough task at West Auckland, who are three places and only six points better off.
RCA manager Martin Swales said: “West Auckland are in top form at the minute, having won five of their last six games, but we’re playing well too.
“We beat Dunston in midweek by 2-1 and we have beaten West Auckland earlier in the season and hope to come away with all three points again.
“They are a good side, but we have a fair chance of winning the game. We’re expecting a good game, but it will be tough.”
RCA defender Luke Richardson is out for the season with ligament damage, while Ross Preston is on holiday and Jonny Davis misses tomorrow’s game due to work commitments.
On the plus side, Clayton Davis is back in the squad after working away.
Swales added: “Young Kieron Parnaby will also be back in the team, alongside the squad being strengthened with a new signing before Saturday.”
West Auckland manager Gary Forrest said: “We have a full strength squad to choose from.
“We’ve just got to keep trying to win football matches and get points on the board, as we aim for second place and promotion. We’re just taking it one game at a time.”
Washington, in second-bottom spot, need a win at fifth-bottom Penrith to keep their slender survival hopes alive.
The Mechanics are 15 points from safety, with only seven matches remaining.
Bishop Auckland are in real trouble and are just three points above the trapdoor.
The Two Blues journey to Dunston UTS, who have fitness doubts over leading scorer Mark Fitzpatrick and Scott Heslop. But Dale Burrell should recover from a knock and Dan Lowther will return to the squad.
Ashington host Marske United without skipper Craig Scott, Ben Christensen and Dylan Williamson.
Midfielder Jake Turnbull will have a fitness test, but David Edwards returns to the Colliers’ squad.
Marske, in the title fight with plenty of games in hand, expect to have a full squad to choose from, other than long-term injury victims Matthew Bell and Andy Ramsbottom.
Newcastle Benfield are eighth and racing up the table, having won their last six matches, and still have many games in hand.
They entertain Newton Aycliffe, who have won three and drawn one of their last six games, so are in a bit of form themselves, but not quite safe from relegation just yet.
Consett welcome Team Northumbria to Belle View.
On Monday, Marske head west for their Cleveland derby against Guisborough Town (11am).