Northern League: Classy Callen treble for RCA just too hot for Chester to handle
Despite defeating Garforth Town on the opening day of the season in the FA Cup, it's been a baptism of fire for Chester-le-Street on their return to the Ebac Northern League First Division for the first time in more than a decade.
They suffered a third consecutive defeat last night as Sunderland RCA notched up their second win in three attempts at Chester Moor Park.
The Cestrians made the worst possible start, conceding a 21st-minute penalty for a foul on Michael Charlton which Jonny Davis fired home.
Worse was to follow 10 minutes later as Stephen Callen collected a long through ball which he drove into the top right-hand corner of the net.
Before the interval, Callen made it 3-0, converting a corner from close range.
Man-of-the-match Callen completed his hat-trick with a free header on the hour mark. Although Lee Mole bagged a late brace for the Cestrians, they were always second-best and RCA fully deserved their 4-2 victory.
Ryhope CW are also finding it difficult after they, too, gained promotion at the end of last season.
They have lost both their opening top-flight games and worryingly conceding no fewer than nine goals.
Jarrow Roofing enjoyed a 4-1 romp, but only one goal from Paul Chow separated the teams at the halfway stage.
Simon Ord shot straight at keeper Andy Jennison in a Ryhope break, but Roofing broke the deadlock five minutes before the break.
James Fairley collected the ball on haflway and drove into the box before feeding Paul Chow, whose low shot beat keeper Chris Rookes.
Ryhope’s hopes were rocked when Stephen Francis was red-carded for a lunge on Fairley early in the second half.
Roofing quickly took advantage, Michael Mackay turning in an Adam Sakr cross.
Mackay set up Sakr for 3-0, then Mackay finished off a brilliant run and cross from Fairley.
Ryhope grabbed a consolation when Conor Winter surged forward and poked his shot under keeper Jennison.
Ambitious South Shields have managed just one point from their first two fixtures following a 2-1 defeat at Newton Aycliffe for whom Dennis Knight opened the scoring with only six minutes gone.
Gavin Cogdon quickly levelled with a clinical finish, but, in the very last minute, the Mariners were denied a point as Jordan Laidler scrambled the ball home.
Following two heavy defeats during which they failed to score and leaked 10 goals, Ashington tasted success with a 2-1 home win over West Auckland, who were first to score through Adam Burnicle.
Manager Stephen Harmison’s decision to make two substitutions reaped rewards as Damien Stephens levelled with a magnificent finish and, four minutes from time, he stroked the ball home past the despairing David Knight for the winner.
Whitley Bay comfortably beat Newcastle Benfield 3-1. Ross Wilkinson’s glancing header secured an early lead and Andy Robinson’s double made it three.
Scott McCarthy reduced the deficit.