Over-40s League: Last-gasp Grieves seals promotion for The Philadelphia in Wingate drama
The Philadelphia enjoyed a promotion party after coming from behind to rescue a 2-2 draw against Wingate Cons.
The sides went into the game level on points, but Phili crucially having a superior goal difference, meaning the visitors had to win to claim the third promotion spot in Division Three.
Phili enjoyed the perfect start, going ahead in the second minute when Alan Jones unleashed a left-footed shot which beat the keeper and crept in the left corner of the net.
Wingate levelled just before half-time, with Paul Bestford latching on to a long goal kick and placed his shot past the advancing keeper.
Terrence Wright quickly doubled the agony for The Philadelphia, picking up a loose ball on the edge of the area and thumping home a fierce shot.
Phili changed formation to try to save the game, but Wingate looked like holding out and even went close to a killer third goal, onlyu for home keeper Brian Teasdale to pull off two magnificent saves.
A series of free-kicks tested Wingate’s goalie, but the visiting defence stood firm until a minute from time when they failed to clear an Andrew Bainbridge set piece and Mickey Grieves was on hand to ram the ball home from eight yards to seal promotion.
Champions Blue House – who boast the top goal-scorer in the league, 48-goal Gary Shields, signed off with a 3-3 thriller against Richmond Town to finish nine points clear after runners-up Wallsend Winstons were beaten 1-0 by Houghton Cricket.
Wearmouth CW secured the First Division championship with a 3-0 success against relegated Pelton Crown Inn, their 21st win out of 26 games in a magnificent campaign.
Marden clinched the Premier Division title thanks to a 4-1 victory at Tudhoe Black Horse in their final match, pipping Hartlepool Touchdown on goal difference.
Dubmire finished well in Division One, winning 2-1 at Ferryhill Greyhound and drawing 2-2 with Washington Sandpiper to end seven points clear of the drop zone.
The last final of the season was won by Hartlepool Touchdown, who beat Cramlington Burton House 2-1 at Wearmouth CW to lift the Kenny Ball Cup, with Lee Crosby and Andy McKenna on target either side of an Aubrey Rutherford strike.
The league hold their presentation night in Mill View club tonight.
Roll of honour
Premier Division winners Marden; runners-up Hartlepool Touchdown
First Division winners Wearmouth CW; runners-up Heaton Stannington
Second Division winners Thornley Celtic; runners-up Seaham Marlborough
Third Division winners Blue House; runners-up Wallsend Winstons
Fourth Division winners Newcastle East End; runners-up New Marske Sports Club
Austin Elliott Cup winners Cramlington Burton House; runners-up Marden
Kip Watson/Villa Real Cup: Cancelled
Robson Pattison Cup winners Cramlington Burton House; runners-up Tudhoe Black Horse
Alan Spedding Cup winners Heaton Stannington; runners-up Dubmire
Ironside Cup winners Seaham Marlborough; runners-up Thornley Celtic
Echo Cup winners Wallsend Winstons; runners-up Blue House
Billy Lorraine Cup winners New Marske Sports Club; runners-up Ivy Legends
Kenny Ball League Cup winners Hartlepool Touchdown; runners-up Cramlington Burton House
Referee of the year: Paul Burt
Highest total goals: Gary Shields, 48 (Blue House)
Outstanding service: Ken Redfearn
Outstanding veteran: Terry Bean (Billingham Vets)
Outstanding players, Premier Division: Lee Crosby (Touchdown)
Div One: Steven Preen (Heaton Stannington)
Div Two: Victor Holt (Seaham Marlborough)
Div Three: Gary Shields (Blue House)
Div Four: Paul Burke (Newcastle East End)
Secretary of the year: David Brien (Colonel Prior)
Player of the year: Aubrey Rutherford (Cramlington Burton House)
Manager of the year: Andy McKenna