Northern League: Last-minute Weirs cracker seals vital Ryhope victory
Ryhope CW maintained their promotion challenge in Division Two away to Northallerton Town on Saturday.
Gary Pearson’s fourth-placed side had their work cut out before seeing off a strong challenge from the much-improved home side to win 1-0.
It didn’t look good for the Wearsiders when they had Nathan O’Neill sent off after 65 minutes, but they were still good enough to clinch a late winner by sub Matthew Weirs who scored a tremendous only goal of the game.
The five-horse race for the three promotion places shows no signs of abating.
South Shields consolidated an eight-point lead, but the anticipated big victory at doomed Stokesley SC didn’t materialise.
The hosts, who had conceded 136 goals in only 34 games, leaked just three to Martyn Coleman, David Foley and Michael Turner.
Billingham Synthonia were without a fixture and Chester-le-Street leap-frogged them, but they were taken to the wire by Billingham Town.
Andrew Grant Soulsby and Sam Renwick had the Cestrians two goals up inside half an hour, but, when Jack Connor halved the deficit with 10 minutes remaining, it was all to play for.
Chester held on and are now two points in front of Synners and five ahead of Ryhope CW, who have four games in hand.
Team Northumbria are also in the mix. They twice came from behind to edge Heaton Stannington, for whom Ben Telford netted both goals.
Louis Storey (pen) and Luke Hannant twice levelled and, just before the end, Gerard Richardson claimed the crucial winner in a counter-attack.
It’s not looking good for second-bottom Birtley Town. Although they are 12 points ahead of bottom club Stokesley, they are three behind Esh Winning after losing 4-2 to fourth-bottom Willington.
Tom Lazenby (2), Luke Black and Anthony Telfer were on the mark for the Hall Lane side, with Mark Bailes and Jamie Dixon replying for Birtley.
Esh Winning squandered a two-goal lead, built up by Adam Ward (pen) and Liam Clark, in going down to Darlington RA.
The home side just couldn’t cope with Christian Holiday, whose superb performance was rewarded with four goals. Stephen Cheeseman made it five before Esh managed a third from Luke Hogan.