Northern League: Durham City in danger as fightback's not enough to deny Washington
Durham City staged a spirited second-half fightback, but they remain precariously placed in the First Division relegation fight after being unable to cancel out Washington's two-goal lead.
The Mechanics made a dream start, scoring with only 12 minutes gone.
James Cassidy made good progress down the right and, when he crossed low into the box, left-back Anthony Callaghan drove home at the back post.
Worse was to follow for the Citizens when Michael Tait’s free-kick was not cleared, and John Butler doubled the home advantage from close-range.
There looked to be no way back, but Chris Moore’s Durham side pushed hard from the start of the second half.
Adam McGuinness cleared a Sam Norris shot off the line and Harvey Saunders hit the crossbar before the visitors eventually found the net.
With five minutes remaining, Nick Allen surged down the right and Saunders, who had an outstanding game, halved the arrears.
His goal, though, was too little too late and City remain second-bottom, three points ahead of Norton and Stockton Ancients.
For weeks, the Teessiders have looked doomed, but their thrilling victory over rival strugglers Whitley Bay has given them a chance of surviving.
Hat-trick hero Nicky Martin and Thibault Charmey – with a late winner from the penalty spot – netted in a 4-3 victory.
After trailing by two goals, Ian Chandler’s Bay went into a 3-2 lead courtesy of Callum Patton, Richard Flynn and Chris McDonald.
The defeat leaves them fourth-bottom, with Bedlington Terriers occupying the third relegation place.
They ended well beaten by Sunderland RCA, but it wasn’t until the last three minutes that Martin Swales’ side made sure of the points.
Two early strikes by Jonny Wightman had the Wearsiders on top, but, after Michael Baxter reduced the deficit before the interval, Terriers came more into the game.
At 2-1, they were in with a chance, but, as they pressed, left the door open for Callum Hope to strike twice just before the end to seal a 4-1 success.
RCA’s Shane Jennings and Bedlington’s Paul Stoneman were sent off on the hour mark.
West Auckland, who were edging towards safety, are again looking over their shoulders after a 1-0 defeat at Penrith, with Jordan Little’s penalty proving sufficientth.
West’s Darren Richardson and Penrith’s Nathan Waterston were simultaneously dismissed in the 23rd minute.
West Allotment Celtic are also in the bottom six after crashing to a 5-0 defeat to Jarrow Roofing, who took another step up the table.
Michael Mackay (2), Paul Chow (2) and James Fairley were on target. Allotment had David Webster red-carded on 58 minutes.
Seaham Red Star are still on course to finish in the top six despite losing 3-1 to Dunston UTS, whose matchwinners were Adam Wilkinson, Liam Thear and Malcolm Morien. Craig Lynch had levelled for Red Star.
Two results – both by 5-0 margins – strengthened Shildon’s grip at the top of the table.
They hammered second-placed Marske United as the goals, all from set pieces, flowed from Danny Moore (2), Jamie Harwood (2) and Anthony Bell.
Shildon now command a 19-point lead over Marske, who have five games in hand, while Morpeth Town stay third despite crashing to an unexpected heavy defeat at Newton Aycliffe.
John Campbell was again Aycliffe’s matchwinner, scoring a hat-trick, with Dennis Knight and Mattie Moffat also on target.
Morpeth are 20 points adrift of Shildon having played seven games fewer, but they still have 16 matches to play – not to mention the FA Vase Final at Wembley – which could scupper their chances of finishing top.