Shildon manager Gary Forrest is trying to strengthen his squad in a last push for the Ebac Northern League First Division title after they beat Penrith 2-1 at Dean Street on Saturday.
Forrest has until the Tuesday night deadline to bolster his squad, as they prepare for their last seven league games and Friday’s Durham Challenge Cup final, although a new face won’t be eligible for the final.
“We were down to the bare bones on Saturday, we have three players out for the season, and a couple more are carrying knocks,” he said. “I’m trying to bring some new bodies in, but it’s difficult.
“I was delighted with the way we approached the second half. We couldn’t get out of our box at times, the wind was that strong. Penrith pushed their centre half up front, and put long balls into our box, but our keeper was well protected, and didn’t have much to do.
“It was never going to be a pretty game because of the conditions, but the players dug in well and won the game.”
Penrith had an effort cleared off the line early on, but Shildon took the lead when Lee Scroggins curled home a free-kick, and a few minutes later Billy Greulich-Smith fired the second.
With wind advantage in the second half, Penrith put the Shildon defence under plenty of pressure, and pulled a goal back with a Willie Paul header from a corner.
Near the end, Shildon keeper Kyle Hayes pulled off a good one handed save to prevent the equaliser.
Shildon remain five points behind leaders Guisborough with three games in hand.
Guisborough Town are now unbeaten in nineteen league games after they beat Newton Aycliffe 4-0 at the King George.
Curtis Round put them into a half-time lead after a long clearance was flicked on for him to score left-footed, and early in the second half James Risborough controlled a pull back and scored with his left foot.
Danny Earl made it 3-0 from an acute angle, and he got the fourth from the penalty spot.
Guisborough manager Chris Hardy said; “After a tight opening 45 minutes the second half our proved to be a lot more productive and we ran out worthy winners. This was an important win given the fact that all the top sides picked up wins and today’s result keeps us in the hunt for the league title.”
Newton Aycliffe manager Peter Dixon said; “Guisborough deserved to win, but I thought the scoreline flattered them.”
West Auckland Town finished their home fixtures with a 2-0 win over Newcastle Benfield.
They had plenty of the game early on and Steve Richardson had an overhead kick blocked on the line. But West weren’t to be denied, and Richardson pounced on a poor back pass and rounded Benfield keeper Andy Grainger to put his team into the lead on 20 minutes.
Three minutes later it was 2-0, when youngster Tom White beat three defenders and fired into the top corner.
West nearly got more in the second half, and the closest they came to scoring was when sub Matty Moffat was twice denied by Grainger at close range.
West’s last four matches are at Marske United, Penrith, West Allotment Celtic and Consett.
Newcastle Benfield manager Steve Bowey said; “We didn’t get to grips with the conditions. We were very flat, looked sluggish with and without the ball. We lost the game first half, and were very poor all over the pitch. We only came into the game in the last 15 minutes.”
West Auckland manager Steve Skinner said; “I told the players before the game that they owed everybody a performance, and I couldn’t have asked for more. They played really well in the first half, and could have scored a couple more.”
Marske are still fourth after beating Sunderland RCA 3-1 at Mount Pleasant.
They scored twice in 4 minutes in the first half. Jamie Owens finished well on 19 minutes, and 4 minutes later Danny Brunskill scored in a goalmouth scramble.
The RCA had an effort cleared off the line, before Brunskill scored his second of the game from a Reece Kelly cross. The RCA pulled a late goal back through Joe Hughes.
The two teams meet again on Tuesday night.
Marske manager Carl Jarrett said; “The game was spoilt by strong winds. Overall, it was a good three points against a team fighting for their lives. I’m disappointed not to have kept a clean sheet.”
Celtic Nation’s long-term future appears to have been secured, but their short-term future looks as if it’s in the Second Division after they were thumped 6-0 at Ashington.
The Colliers were five goals up before half-time with Dylan Williamson scoring a hat-trick, with Andrew Johnson scoring another two. Dylan Armstrong scored the sixth in the second half.
Ashington assistant-manager Ian Skinner said; “We played with the wind in the first half and put them under pressure from the off and went in at half-time 5-0 up. Second half we had a plan how to see the game out and we ended up winning 6-0. We’ve played better, but that’s four wins in a row now and all credit to the players.”
Billingham Synthonia failed to climb out of the bottom three when they lost 3-2 at Dunston UTS.
The home side took a half-time lead through Andy Bulford and Dan Smith, and extended their lead through Bulford in the second half.
But Michael Sweet pulled a goal back from the penalty spot and Martyn Woodhouse headed a second.
Synners have a big game at home to fourth bottom Sunderland RCA this Saturday.
Billingham Synthonia manager Conrad Hillerby said; “We weren’t good enough as a team. We carried too many players in key positions for long periods in the game. Injuries haven’t helped. We did better as the game went on.”
Dunston UTS manager Billy Irwin said; “We played well to be 3-0 up, then we gave them a sniff. Delighted with the three points though.”
Bishop Auckland easily beat relegated Crook Town 4-0 in their local derby at Heritage Park.
Bishops took the lead when Adam Cocks crossed for Kyle Davis to score from a few yards, then Olly Hotchkiss put a free-kick into the top corner for the second.
Davis headed the third from an Adam Sakr cross soon after half-time, then Andy Johnson pounced on a poor back pass and scored the fourth.
Bishop Auckland joint-manager Steve Riley said; “It was a good team performance with some well taken goals. We could have scored a couple more in the second half but overall it was a pleasing performance against a spirited crook team who never gave up.”
Crook manager Peter Mulcaster said; “I was very disappointed with the players following a good performance on Wednesday. Bishops were good value for their win.”
Consett hit the goals trail again, thumping Bedlington Terriers 6-3, which means that they’re now just a goal short of a century in the league this season.
At a very windy Belle View, Andrew Keenan put Bedlington into the lead after 2 minutes, but Luke Sullivan levelled with a shot that deflected off Bedlington defender Callum Donohoe a minute later.
Dan Madden headed Consett into the lead from a Danny Craggs corner, then Bedlington defender Adam Harvey headed into his own net for the third.
Jordan Nellis pulled a goal back for Bedlington, but Sullivan made it 4-2. Michael Mackay made it 5-2 from a Chris Moore pass – his 33rd league goal of the season – and Sullivan completed the scoring from a Josh Gray pass.
Andy Ferrell pulled a late goal back for Bedlington.
Consett are now up to seventh, and are six points behind the top six.
Consett manager Colin Myers said; “It was a great result in horrendous conditions. The wind really spoilt the game but I thought we controlled the game from start to finish and should have won by a bigger margin.”
Durham City had a dreadful day out at Morpeth Town, going down 6-0.
It all went wrong for Durham in the 5th minute when Dan Teggart scored then Sean Taylor quickly made it 2-0.
After that, Durham never got into the game, and Michael Chilton (2), Jordan Fry and Luke Carr added further goals.
Durham manager Ian Chandler said; “That was my lowest points as Durham manager. It was a terrible performance from the whole squad.”
Morpeth manager Nick Gray said; “It was a great result, although we didn’t have to play at our best. I’m happy with a clean sheet.”
Seaham Red Star won promotion and the Second Division title both together when they won 5-0 at Tow Law Town, and other results went in their favour.
Dean Nicholson (2), Liam McBryde, Lewis Wing and Warren Byrne all scored for Seaham, while Tow Law had Chris Killeen and Joe Grant controversially sent off.
Tow Law manager Steve Murray said; “We had two sendings off, and that was it, game over.”
Norton & Stockton Ancients missed a chance to go second because they were beaten 2-1 at Northallerton Town.
Martin Butterworth and Aaron Ramsbottom put Northallerton 2-0 up, and after Rocky Andrews had a penalty saved, Tom Bligh scored a late goal for Norton.
Northallerton manager Danny Mellanby said; “It was a good battling performance in terrible windy conditions.”
Norton manager Andy Campbell said; “It was a poor display at a crucial time. Northallerton wanted it more than my players and got three deserved points.”
Hebburn Town, in fifth, dropped points when they were held to a 1-1 draw at Whickham.
Hebburn led with a goal by Chris Smith, but Whickham levelled direct from a corner through Levi Oman.
Hebburn manager Scott Oliver said; “The wind ruined the game. I was very disappointed to concede direct from a corner as they had no other opportunities, but it’s a point gained I think as Whickham are always tough to beat.”
Thornaby are up to sixth after they beat Sunderland Ryhope CW 3-2.
Ryhope took the lead with a header by Nathan O’Neill, but Thornaby levelled when Theo Furness scored at the second attempt.
Kieran Edwards headed Thornaby back into the lead, but Richard Hodgson levelled again from the free-kick.
Nathan Porritt got the winner for Thornaby just minutes from the end, seconds after he’d missed a penalty.
Ryhope CW manager Gary Pearson said; “It was an enjoyable game other than the result which was slightly unfair as the draw would have been more realistic. It was a good hard fought game with quality from each time. On that showing both teams won’t be too far away in next season’s promotion race.”
Thornaby manager Paul Edwards said; “It was a hard fought game. A draw would have been a fair result, but we’re delighted to have got the three points, especially missing a penalty in the last minute.”
Now that Celtic Nation have been saved, it looks as if the only way that Brandon United will avoid the drop is either by finishing above second-bottom Tow Law, or that nobody comes up from the feeder leagues.
They did their chances some good by winning 2-1 at Billingham Town.
Kieron Weekes fired them into the lead after 4 minutes, but Joel Callender levelled for Town just after he’d come on as sub. However, Brandon recovered and scored the winner through James Ellis.
Chester-le-Street beat Darlington RA 1-0 at Chester Moor, with the only goal of the game coming from Michael Hepplewhite.
Chester also missed some good chances.
Chester-le-Street manager Colin Wake said; “It was a well-earned three points. We were hanging on in the end but that was our own fault as we should have won by a more comfortable margin as our finishing let us down on numerous occasions.”
South Shields lost 2-1 at home to Alnwick Town.
Michael Turner put Shields into the lead, but Alnwick hit back with goals by Stephen Hogg and Tony Shanks.
Ryton & Crawcrook Albion beat Birtley Town 3-2.
Ryan Burnyeat scored a hat-trick for Ryton , with Lee Best and Dan Quine replying for Birtley.
Birtley manager Tony Boakes said; “Our man of the match was Callum Boakes, who made his Northern League debut at the age of 16. The game was poor due to the conditions.”
Credit: Ray Simpson