SPENNYMOOR manager Jason Ainsley graciously handed the title over to Darlington after his team’s 3-2 win over Durham City at the Brewery Field on Saturday.

Moors have won the title for the past three seasons, and with their current points tally would have won a fourth – but instead Darlington have set a new league record to pip them and clinch promotion to the Evo-Stik League.

“Darlington have been magnificent since the turn of the year, they dropped only two points in 14 matches after they beat us in January,” said Ainsley.

“Martin Gray has done a tremendous job since he took over, when you consider that he didn’t have any players at all.

“To reach 119 points is a great achievement, and fair credit to them.”

Ainsley’s attention is now turning to the Vase final at Wembley against Tunbridge Wells on Saturday.

City stunned Moors by taking the lead after 31 minutes when Max Stoker beat Moors keeper David Knight, but Moors levelled just after half time when Chris Moore crossed for little Anthony Peacock to head home.

Durham regained the lead on 58 minutes when Paul Dixon beat Knight to a through ball and tapped into an empty net, but Moors again levelled on the hour when Peacock threaded the ball through for Andrew Stephenson to score.

And Moors got the winner on 75 minutes when Stephenson pulled the ball back for Joe Walton to score.

Whitley Bay need two points from two games to clinch third place after they won 3-0 at Marske United.

Lee Kerr gave them an eighth minute lead from the spot, then James Fairley tapped in another after 24 minutes. Kerr scored with a good shot on the turn soon after half time, as Whitley took full control.

Sunderland RCA’s woes continued when they lost 3-1 at home to Billingham Synthonia, a result that leaves them five points adrift of safety with just two games left.

Synners had three penalties in the game, but only scored two of them. They got off to a great start after five minutes when RCA defender Brian Close put a Nathan Jameson cross through his own goal, and then Danny Newby made it 2-0 from the spot five minutes later.

RCA pulled a goal back through Kevin Gordon on 38 minutes, and missed chances for an equaliser. In the dying minutes, Newby fired a second penalty wide for a foul on Aiden Cattermole, and in stoppage time. Steve Huggins took over the responsibilities when Synners were awarded a third and he converted it.

West Auckland failed to beat already relegated South Shields, and had to settle for a 1-1 draw. The partnership of John Campbell and Mattie Moffat clicked yet again when Moffat scored from Campbell’s corner, but West missed chances to seal the game and paid the penalty when David Bulman levelled near the end.

Moffat has now scored 35 league goals for the season.

Billingham Town lost 5-2 at home to Bishop Auckland to leave them still in the relegation mix.

Town took the lead with a Christian Selby penalty after Josh McDonald was brought down, but the game turned against them when former Bishops striker Danny Brunskill was sent off for violent conduct.

Jamie Harwood levelled for Bishops, but Harrison Davies restored Town’s lead on the hour. Andy Johnson went straight down the other end and scored from a Craig Hodgson pass for the equaliser.

Harwood broke though to beat Danny Molyneux for 3-2, then Johnson dispossessed a defender to score the fourth.

He completed his hat-trick in the last minute to give him 36 league goals for the season, and put him top of the first division scoring charts.

Shildon drew 2-2 at Penrith, but they conceded a late goal.

Richard Faustino put Penrith into the lead after six minutes, but Shildon levelled through Jamie Owens from a Craig Hughes long throw. The same move worked again for Owens to make it 2-1 before half time, and Shildon seemed to have the game won when Ben Jackson was red carded for Penrith.

The Northern Echo: Andrew Stephenson
Moors midfielder Andrew Stephenson beats the Durham keeper, but the ball goes out of play

But their defending let them down and right at the end, Stephen Rigg levelled for Penrith.

Newton Aycliffe finished their season with a 3-1 home win over Guisborough.

They took the lead on 16 minutes when Paul Broom set up Danny Lambert to open the scoring, then Danny Earl finished off a good move for the second. Mikey Roberts hit the post with a penalty. Guisborough pulled a goal back through Paul Callan, but Earl made the points safe with a neat lob over the keeper.

Consett are now ninth after a 1-0 home win over Dunston UTS, Michael Mackay providing a great finish to a cross from Steve Aiston after 73 minutes.

Ashington beat Norton 4-1.

Gareth Bainbridge put Ashington into the lead, but relegated Norton replied just on half time with a goal by Anthony Hume.

They took full control in the second half, and scored through James Taylor, Glen Taylor and Andrew Johnson.

Crook Town kept cool and won the Second Division title after a 1-0 win at Thornaby.

Former Thornaby player Alex Marshall slotted the ball past the advancing keeper after 59 minutes. There were one or two nervous moments for Crook after that, but they kept their eighth clean sheet of the season.

Darlington RA’s promotion hopes were ended when they lost 3-0 at Ryhope CW.

Jonny Butler got on the scoresheet to give him 52 goals for the season, with Chris Winn chipping in with his 39th. Martin Metcalfe scored third.

Jarrow Roofing crushed home side Brandon 10-1 – the highest away win in the division this season.

Striker Liam McBryde was in unstoppable mood, running riot with seven goals, the most by an individual in the league for several years, possibly since Roy Allen for West Auckland a decade ago. Anthony Myers, David Carson and Chris Hepple were the other scorers.

Roofing also have the highest home win in the division this season, 10-2 over Horden.

Morpeth were also among the goals, putting six past Northallerton. Micky Chilton scored twice to give him 38 league goals for the season, with Stephen Anderson, Ashley McAlpine, Alex Benjamin and Damon Mullen also getting on the scoresheet.

Morpeth and Roofing are level on points, and are separated by only one goal on goal difference.

Horden will finish bottom after they could only draw 2-2 at Whitehaven, but they could also be reprieved if one of the clubs coming up isn’t up to standard – and at the moment, Heaton Stannington don’t have floodlights.

Agonisingly, Horden led 2-1 at half time with two goals by Peter Crawford, with Matty Tymon replying, and Horden still had a chance of finishing outside the relegation zone until Danny Hodgson equalised for Whitehaven in the closing minutes.

Alnwick will finish second bottom after beating Washington 5-2.

Jon Colley scored a hattrick for Alnwick, with Kieran Hogg and Tony Brown scoring their other goals. Dean Walker scored twice for Washington.

Third bottom Esh Winning will be relieved that they had the points in the bag, because they were hammered 6-0 at West Allotment, conceding five of them in the first half.

David Dormand ran riot for Allotment with four, with Mark Allen and Shaun Reid getting the others.

Tow Law beat Birtley 2-0, with goals by Luke Parkinson and Tom Watkinson.

Chester-le-Street lost 2-0 at home to North Shields, for whom Dean Holmes and Dan Patterson scored.

Ryton and Crawcrook beat Seaham Red Star by the best of seven.

􀁧 In the Evo-Stik League, Whitby drew 2-2 at Ashton United. Shane Henry put them into an early lead, but then Ashton went 2-1 up and David McTiernan equalised right at the end.

Blyth won 4-1 at Eastwood Town, Joe Kendrick, Robbie Dale and Andy Jennings (2) their scorers.