A thrilling League Challenge Cup Semi Final between the two leading Sunderland clubs in local football ended with Belford House grabbing a late, late smash and grab with a 1-0 win over Sporting coming in the latter stages of 'Golden Goal'.

A well worked move was ended by Andy Dugdale who fired hard and low passed a despairing Gary Davison in the Sporting goal.

The improvement of Birtley Town Reserves during the past three weeks finally earned them their first win in the league since December 7. A goal by Colin Beadling in the 20th minute against Simonside SC moved them up a place in the league from second to third off bottom.

A 2-2 draw for Whitehill FC away to Cockfield keeps them at the top of the table - a point above Hartlepool Town.

Seaham The Duke went down 3-2 to Shildon Railway. They were ahead after 25 minutes with a goal from Scott Burns and were playing the better football until their keeper went off injured in the 42nd minute. Shildon drew level after 50 minutes Chris Straughan the scorer. Two futher goals from Kevin Hamilton in 60 and 75 minutes had Shildon 3-1 ahead. Scott Burns got another for The Duke but wasn't enough.

Hartlepool Town narrowed the gap at the top of the league to one point when they beat Ebchester FC 6-1 away, goals scored by Chris Birkbeck, Dave Smith, Paul Nicholson (2), and two from James Parkinson. Mark Turner replied for Ebchester.

Seaham Mallard went down 3-2 at home to Shildon Railway, John Christon put Shildon ahead after 20 minutes. The Mallard were level after a a fine bit of football by Barry Cougle who won the ball to slot it through for Kris Hills to score. Cougle was the supplier for another goal, slipping the ball through to Steven Newby to make it 2-1 in their favour. A late rally by Shildon earned them the three points when Paul Harnett scored in 75 minutes and another goal three minutes later coming from the sub David Torr.

In their Auckland Charity Cup semi-final tie, Coxhoe Athletic beat Darlington Albion 2-1. Brandon Station won the other semi-final in a 5-4 penalty shoot out against Darlington CB.