Penshaw Catholic Club will go for glory in tomorrow’s Robson-Pattison Cup final against Heaton Stannington at Wearmouth CW (10.30am).
Penshaw emerged victorious in a thrilling semi-final after coming from behind to beat fierce rivals Ryhope Foresters 3-2 after extra time.
After an even opening period, Penshaw opened the scoring with a 35-yard John Spence free-kick which deceived the keeper.
Penshaw’s lead didn’t last long, with Ryhope scoring twice in the space of 10 minutes before half-time, as Marcus Turnbull and Chris Callaghan capitalised on defensive errors.
Ryhope dictated play early in the second half, but Penshaw made changes and turned the game around.
James Maccoy came on for only his second appearance at centre-half, allowing star man Damian Maw to join the attack.
Penshaw’s midfield took control and, after a goalmouth scramble, a clever back heel from Spence made it 2-2.
Chris Moody fired inches wide for Penshaw before the end.
Extra time saw Ryhope tire and the decisive goal came 10 minutes in, with a memorable Maw overhead kick.
Ryhope pushed centre-half Paul Robertson forward, but Penshaw’s defensive line of ‘Noka’ Thurlbeck, Lee Stocks and Maccoy stood firm, although John Cullen was unlucky when he dragged a shot wide.
Marden won the battle of the two heavyweight giants of the Premier Division to land the title.
Hartlepool Workies, a point behind at kick-off, started well and were only denied the lead by some fine Graeme Morton saves.
Workies, though, were rocked by a controversial sending-off in the first half.
Nevertheless, they stormed in front three minutes into the second period as James Parkinson beat three men and set up Andy Barry to finish from 10 yards.
Marden dug in and levelled the scores 20 minutes from time, though, with a fine 10-yard glancing header from the evergreen Frankie Deverdics.
A draw would have taken the title battle to this weekend, but Marden talisman Tony Healer had other ideas.
Five minutes from time, he rose above keeper Kenny French, under pressure from centre-back Brian Linighan, to power home a Tony Colquhoun cross for the winner.
Victory took Marden four points clear, with just a game to go, and secured the Tynesiders’ fourth championship in a row and sixth in seven seasons.
Wearmouth CW and Hylton CW both picked up precious wins in the fight for top-flight survival.
Wearmouth were 2-1 winners at Redhouse WMC to stay three points ahead of Hylton, who impressively beat Spennymoor Town 4-1 away.
Houghton Cricket Club all but secured safety and Washington JFC Biddick Inn were guaranteed promotion after a hard fought 1-1 Third Division draw.
Houghton took the lead when the keeper parried a shot and Daglish tapped in the rebound. Biddick equalised with a good finish just before half-time.
Greenwood shone for Houghton.
Willow Pond drew 2-2 with Billingham Vets but remain in danger of the drop.
Willow went ahead after Ronald Bulmer passed from the back to David Laws, who found Kit Tipling, on the run, and he side footed past keeper Dave Portas.
Billingham equalised from a ball over the top to star man Mark Fisher, whose deft chip beat onrushing keeper Andy Tilbury.
Willow regained the lead after good work from David Kelly, Laws and Matt Barton, with Gary Barker ghosting in with a looping ball.
Willow were undone with 10 minutes left, as Virgil Stansui and Mark Allison combined to cross to Gary Butterworth, who tapped in unmarked at the far post.
The Philadelphia earned three precious points with a 3-2 win at Redcar Old Boys.
In Division Two, third-bottom Peterlee Helford United bolstered their survival bid with a fine 4-2 win at Plains Farm Alldec, who are not yet safe themselves.
Mill View, good 4-2 winners at Hartlepool Catholic Club in midweek, are three points adrift at the bottom after a 3-0 defeat at Redcar Town. Dubmire, in seventh, lost 2-1 at second-top Richmond Town.
Woodhorn Lane claimed a precious 3-1 win over relegation rivals Hartlepool Catholic.
Whitley Bay Seahorse clinched the Division One title with a 4-1 victory at Blakelaw SC, while closest challengers Dormans lost 4-2 at Consett.
Sherburn moved sixth after a 1-1 draw with South Shields.
Boldon Colliery Tavern were sunk 5-1 by Gateshead Redheugh in Division Four, while Hedworthfield Red Hackle consolidated third place by beating Shildon 3-1.
Sedgefield lifted the Fourth Division’s Billy Lorraine Cup thanks to a 2-1 final win over fourth-top Wearmouth CW Old Boys at Wearmouth.