THE wheels well and truly came off Sunderland’s season on Saturday as they lost out to second bottom Wallsend by 20 points to five.
Having comfortably beaten the Tynesiders earlier in the season, Sunderland went into the game confident they could end a four-game losing streak.
But they came up against a Wallsend side battling to avoid relegation, who showed more fight and spirit on the day.
Two converted tries and two penalties were enough to clinch the win for Wallsend.
Sunderland’s consolation try was a rare collectors’ item from prop Alan Ross following a catch and drive at the lineout.
H Sunderland seconds had their game called off, so the thirds had a sizeable squad to take on Bishop Auckland.
With Bishop’s twos also having their game called off, both sides had strong squads, but it was Sunderland who got off to the best start.
Early tries came through Jossie Wright picking and powering over from the base of a ruck before Dave Ditchburn was on the end of a flowing backs’ move to race clear from 20 metres out.
John Grainger added one conversion and a penalty for a 15-0 half-time lead.
Bishop came back into the game in the second half with two unconverted tries to bring the score to 15-10, but Sunderland edged further ahead with a penalty from the impressive Guy Kingsley Smith.
Sunderland closed out the game with the try of the day when, after a number of phases through the forwards, the ball was passed out through Kingsley Smith, Simpson Graham and Carter, allowing Colin Wallace to crash over.
Kingsley Smith added the extras as the game finished 25-10.