DARLINGTON RA could make it a Darlington promotion double as they have moved up to joint third in the second division with a 4-2 home win over Thornaby.
RA are level on points with Jarrow Roofing, but Nick Harrison’s team has played two more games than them, while Morpeth, who are fifth, are two points behind with two games in hand.
But the big incentive for the RA is that fourth place might be enough to win promotion if Ryhope CW are denied promotion by the FA for not having a ground up to standard.
“We had an atrocious first half, but we scored some top goals in the second half. We’ll just keep getting points and see how many other teams lose around us,” said Harrison.
Thornaby scored in the second minute through Adam Murphy, and RA didn’t level until the 33rd minute, when Steve Allison was fouled and David Webster scored from the spot.
At the start of the second half the RA defence made a hash of a clearance, allowing Stephen Morrison an easy goal. But then RA scored three times in the space of six minutes. Webster levelled from the edge of the box, then Martin Butterworth outpaced the defence and slotted home.
Louis Whensley headed the fourth from a Lee Farrington corner.
The RA have a big match tonight in the Ernest Armstrong Cup at West Allotment, then on Thursday they play Whitehaven at home in the league.
In the first division, Spennymoor kept the pressure on Darlington by winning 4-0 at Hebburn, to keep them 23 points behind with seven games in hand.
Moors were in full control after just six minutes, when Hebburn full back Kieron Mc- Donald was red-carded for pulling down Micky Rae, who scored from the penalty spot, and the striker got his second with an excellent half-volley from the edge of the area. Just before half-time Keith Graydon fired in off the post, and in the second half, Chris Lawther dribbled past four players to score another.
West Auckland’s hold on third place is slipping because they lost 1-0 at home to Team Northumbria, the only goal of the game coming in the opening minutes from Dean Critchlow.
West had defender Darryl Hall dismissed for swearing late in the game.
Whitley Bay have the games in hand to overtake West after they beat second bottom South Shields 3-0.
They took the lead after two minutes through Lewis Burns’ first senior goal, then Paul Chow got his 31st league goal of the season when he lobbed Shields keeper James Winter. Chris Fawcett scored the third, Whitley’s 100th of the season, from a Paul Robinson pass near the end.
Newcastle Benfield are now in the bottom three after they were beaten 3-0 at Bishop Auckland. Jamie Harwood fired Bishops into a thirdminute lead, then Andy Johnson scored his 32nd league goal of the season.
Ryan Cummings added the third midway through the second half.
The teams meet again tonight at Heritage Park for a place in the league cup final against either Dunston UTS or Spennymoor.
Norton are just about relegated after they threw away a 3-0 lead against Billingham Town and had to settle for a 3- 3 draw.
Dale Mulligan gave Norton a seventh-minute lead with a penalty, then Mulligan fired a second. They were well on top when Charlie Raby scored with a header before halftime.
Town made no headway until the 75th minute, when Nicky Martin scored from an Alan Cosavella pass. Norton then had defender John Seaton dismissed for two yellows.
Town got back to 3-2 when Christian Selby scored from the spot after Josh McDonald was pulled down, and with seven minutes left McDonald crossed for Selby to fire the equaliser.
A draw was small consolation for Town, who are just one point above the relegation zone with two games left.
However, their position will strengthen considerably if, as expected, they are granted a replay for Sunderland RCA playing a suspended player against them.
RCA would then drop to third bottom, five points from safety, and their cause wasn’t helped by a 1-0 home defeat by Dunston UTS.
The visitors scored after just 25 seconds, when Danny Craggs headed in.
There is also a growing doubt over Bedlington, who have a winding-up order against them. If that is successful, then the club would lose its ENL membership, and third bottom would be reprieved.
Marske United picked up a valuable point to stay sixth bottom in a 2-2 home draw against Penrith.
They didn’t help themselves when David Onions hit the bar with a penalty, and things got worse when Kevin Connelly put Penrith into the lead on the hour.
Onions levelled on 62 minutes, but two minutes later Penrith went back into the lead through Steven Allison.
But Marske levelled in stoppage time with a Leon Carling header.
Consett defeated Billingham Synthonia 4-1 at Belle Vue for their eighth win in eleven games. Luke Sullivan fired them into the lead after 21 minutes, then Aristotle Guerin-Lokonga got the second just on half-time. Danny Newby pulled a goal back from the spot after Aiden Cattermole was fouled, but Luke Sullivan made it 3-1 with a powerful free kick. Mattie Slocombe headed the fourth late in the game.
Guisborough won 2-1 at Durham City. They took the lead when Danny Johnson rounded the keeper to score on 13 minutes, and a few minutes later it was 2-0 when Johnson held off the Durham defence and fired home. Jordan Galloway pulled a goal back for Durham with a header.
Celtic Nation beat Ashington 2-0 with goals by Dean Douglas and player-manager Steve Skinner.
In the second division, Crook Town thrashed Washington 7-1 to keep them five points clear of Ryhope CW.
Robbie Bird lobbed the keeper to put Crook into the lead, then David Paul lobbed the keeper from an acute angle. Warren Byrne made it 3-0 just on half-time when he scored from the spot after he was brought down.
Bird fired another at the start of the second half, and after Dean Walker pulled a goal back, Byrne scored a fifth. Mark Paterson put another into his own net before Byrne completed his hat-trick to give him 30 league goals for the season.
Ryhope CW made sure of a top-three spot when they defeated Esh Winning 5-0 away from home, but whether they are promoted or not remains to be seen, because their ground might not be up to standard.
Jonny Butler scored a hattrick to give him 49 league goals for the season, with Chris Winn and Martin Metcalfe getting the others.
Jarrow Roofing lost 2-0 at home to Northallerton, who took the lead after 12 minutes when Ian Smurthwaite converted a penalty. Adam Emson scored the second, his 29th league goal of the season.
Morpeth are closing in on a top-four spot after beating Tow Law 1-0, with a goal by Micky Chilton.
Alnwick and Horden are hoping for a reprieve from relegation, possibly through Ryhope CW’s predicament, after both of them lost.