Martin Swales has challenged Sunderland RCA to see out the season on an unbeaten run as they target a top four place in Northern League Division One.
Swales’ side moved up to sixth with a comprehensive 4-1 over Consett as they swept aside a Steelmen side that went into the game on the back of a big win over struggling Penrith.
RCA took a 2-1 lead into half-time as goals from Colin Larkin and Nathan O’Neill sandwiched an equaliser from Consett full-back Darren Holden.
Larkin restored his side’s lead midway through the second-half and a Thomas McAloon goal eased RCA home and left Swales to reflect on a very positive display.
He told The Echo: “The lads were fantastic, but we were a bit wary about them after they beat Penrith in midweek.
“But we were fantastic from start to finish and we bossed the game.
“I never worry about us facing the top sides in the league because we always do well against them.
“We have 18 points to play for and I would be disappointed if we get anything less than 15 points from those games.
“I would hope that would get us a top four finish because all of the other sides have to play each other.”
Ryhope CW manager Gary Pearson praised his side for a “gutsy” performance in their 2-1 win at struggling Ashington.
Jon Weirs put Ryhope ahead inside the opening 10 minutes at Woodhorn Lane, but the two sides were level at half-time as Sammy Perez – brother of Newcastle United forward Ayoze – got the hosts back on level terms.
It was Pearson’s side that claimed the points as Jack Devlin fired past Colliers keeper Conor Grant with just over 20 minutes of the game remaining.
“It was gutsy to be fair,” admitted Pearson.
“I think we dominated the opening 25 minutes and then we lost our way a bit.
“Conditions were tough, and I think we dealt with them very well.
“It was difficult once the ball moved about shoulder height.
“It was difficult for both sides, but I think we weathered it better.”
Seaham Red Star’s recent good form was checked when they were beaten at West Auckland Town.
Denver Morris and Steven Snaith got the goals as West condemned Mark Collingwood’s side to a 2-0 defeat at the Wanted Stadium.
Dunston UTS took a giant leap towards the Division One title with a hard-earned 2-0 win at top-four contenders North Shields.
A brace from former Whickham striker Mark Fitzpatrick took Chris Swailes’ side 12 points clear at the top of the table.
Bishop Auckland saw their own title aspirations take a further blow as they were thumped at home by in-form Stockton Town.
The Anchors were in control by half-time as early goals from Nathan Mulligan and Max Craggs gave their side a two-goal advantage at the interval. Sonni Coleman, Fred Woodhouse and Chris Stockton added to the scoring during the second half and ensured that the Two Blues conceded five goals for the second consecutive home game.
Whitley Bay fought back from two goals down at Shildon to earn Nathan Haslam a point in his first game as manager of the four-time FA Vase winners.
The Railwaymen took a two-goal lead into half-time thanks to strikes from Brad Hird and Billy Greulich-Smith, despite having Zak Atkinson sent off for violent conduct midway through the half.
The Bay mounted a spirited comeback and claimed a point as Andrei Ardelean and Luke Salmon found the net before the hour-mark had passed.
Newcastle Benfield recovered from conceding a goal inside the opening 10 seconds of the game to claim a convincing win at bottom of the table Penrith.
Martyn Coleman fired the Cumbrian outfit in front with just seven seconds on the clock, but that was as good as it got for the Bonny Blues.
Benfield took a lead into half-time as Paul Brayson and Dean Holmes found the net and an own goal from Tyler Bowman and a Dennis Knight strike eased them to a 4-1 win.