SPENNYMOOR Town manager Jason Ainsley reckoned that his team produced their best performance of the season as they swept West Auckland aside by 4-0 at the Brewery Field on Saturday, and returned to the top of the STL Northern League table.
Moors have a big week coming up – they are at Whitley Bay in the league tomorrow, and at Newcastle Benfield in the FA Cup on Saturday – and Ainsley said: “That was easily our best 90 minutes of the season against a team that is always difficult to beat.”
Moors took the lead when Steve Richardson set up Micky Rae to head in, and then Craig Hubbard scored from the rebound after Leon Ryan hit the bar.
It was 3-0 before half-time when Rae crossed for Richardson to sidefoot in. West couldn’t get to grips with Rae in the second half, and after he hit the crossbar, he scored the fourth from a free kick.
Shildon dropped to third after they were beaten 2-0 at home by Dunston. The visitors took the lead midway through the first half when Steve Preen cleverly flicked the ball on for Andy Bulford to run through and beat Keith Finch, and then they successfully soaked up some strong Shildon pressure.
And in the last minute, Shildon, who had Gary Brown sent off for a two-footed tackle, were caught again when Bulford picked up a loose pass, and scored the second.
Billingham Synthonia also produced some of their best football of the season as they came from behind to draw 2-2 with Whitley Bay at Central Avenue.
Whitley looked to be well in control at one stage. Adam Johnston headed his sixth goal of the season after 28 minutes, and then Paul Chow scored a deserved second just before half-time.
But Synners launched a revival and Colin Iley crossed for newcomer Chris Smith to score. Nathan Jameson and Andy Foster combined well and set up Michael Jameson for the equaliser midway through the second half.
Esh Winning collected only their second point of the season when they drew 1-1 at Stokesley. Andy Jennings set up Brian Stewart to put Stokesley into the lead just before half time, but Esh levelled with a Liam Clough penalty after former Darlington defender Brian Close was red carded for a professional foul.
Consett striker Jamie Poole, who has a trial at Gillingham this week, scored the only goal of the game as they beat Bedlington at Belle Vue.
Poole went close early in the game, but he broke through after 57 minutes when he scored from a John Hewitson pass ten yards out. But Consett had keeper Barry Poskett to thank for two good saves.
Ryton dropped into the bottom four after losing 1-0 at Jarrow Roofing. Dan Carson scored the only goal of the game from a Kris Hughes pass after just five minutes.
Guisborough opened up a three-point lead at the top of the second division after they ended Chester-le-Street’s unbeaten record at the King George with a 4-1 win, scoring all their goals in the second half.
Chester took the lead with a Neil Moan header after 35 minutes, but Guisborough levelled when Austin Johnston scored from a Chris I’Anson assist. Shaun Henry made it 2-1 from a Michael Roberts pass, David Onions fired the third, and then he set up Nathan Steel for the fourth.
Marske United had a good 3-0 away win at Morpeth, who included former million pound man Trevor Benjamin in their side.
Marske took the lead after 20 minutes when the home keeper fumbled a corner from Adam Gell over the line, and a mix up in the home defence let Rob Jones run through and score the second. Danny Brunskill scored a third after he beat a defender and scored from ten yards. Marske also hit the woodwork twice.
Washington, one of last season’s strugglers, are now fifth thanks to a 3-1 away win at Horden. Nicky Martin and Dean Fox gave Washington an early two-goal lead, and after Anthony Hume pulled a goal back, Martin made sure of the points late in the game.
Birtley’s improvement continued with a 2-0 home win over Northallerton to put them into fifth. Martin Roper fired them in front early on, and sub Nathan Hepurker added a second with a good run and strike.
Hebburn had a morale boosting 2-1 home win over Brandon. Michael Armstrong gave them the lead, and after pointless Brandon levelled through Ian Pritchard, veteran Willie Crew scored the winner.
■ The league has changed its name to STL Northern League, in line with the sponsors’ new company, Start to Learn.