Ryhope CW manager Gary Pearson admitted that his side’s draw with Stockton Town felt like a win.
Last season’s FA Vase finalists looked to be claiming all three points from their visit to Wearside after Fred Woodhouse’s goal midway through the first-half gave them a deserved lead.
But Ryhope striker Jack Devlin pounced to snatch a point for his side when he fired home an equaliser eight minutes from time.
“It was a game of two halves,” explained the Ryhope boss.
“They had the better of the first-half, we had the better of the second-half.
“We did have a conversation at half-time about how they seemed to want it more, they were a bit sharper and a bit more physical than us.
“The weather played a massive part and it was hard to get the ball down.
“A draw was fair, and if anything, it feels like a win because they led for so long in the game.
“We were getting the ball forward, but I just think they had few more ideas than us and we were just trying to compete.”
Pearson was dealt a blow before kick-off when Lewis King pulled up in the warm-up.
That forced the Ryhope boss into a late change as Adam Cocks replaced the Spennymoor Town youngster after initially being told he would start as a substitute.
Pearson revealed that a dead leg forced King out of the action and that he will be assessed ahead of next weekend’s trip to Newcastle Benfield.
“He is not a massive concern in terms of a long-term injury.
“It was just a dead leg and he probably could have started, but when you have fit players, you are always better to play them rather than patching somebody up.
“Lewis will have the week off, he will have treatment and he will be at training on Thursday and we will go from them.
“His form has been excellent, but it just goes to show that we have more strength-in-depth.”
The result extends Ryhope’s impressive form to just one defeat in 11 games and there was further good news for the club when forward James Ellis put pen-to-paper on a contract on Saturday evening.
Ellis has fired his way to 20 league goals this season and is seen as an integral part of Pearson’s squad.
An Andrew Bulford hat-trick inspired struggling Whickham to an impressive 4-1 win at Newcastle Benfield.
Max Cowburn also got on the score-sheet for the Lang Jacks and they had already secured all three points by the time Benfield substitute James Martin grabbed a late consolation goal for his side.
Former South Shields striker Stephen Ramsey grabbed the only goal of the game to help Whitley Bay to a narrow win at out-of-form Ashington.
Newton Aycliffe earned a point from their visit to Consett as Ethan Wood’s equaliser cancelled out an early goal from Steelmen striker Michael Sweet.