Plaudits fell at the feet of FC United of Newcastle at the weekend as they moved off the foot of the table with a shock 4-2 win away to high-flying Newcastle Blue Star, the visitors leading via an early own-goal, and a first of the game for Dillon Swann inside the opening fifteen minutes; Martin Soulsby nabbed a quick-fire brace either side of the interval to level proceedings before Ryan McAvoy restored FC United’s lead, Swann grabbing the winner with his second in the final twenty minutes.
Gateshead A also picked up a big win when they defeated visitors North Shields Athletic 5-2, Dobie bagging a brace alongside efforts from Moody, Slater and Warriner, Beattie and Dunn replying whilst New Fordley edged ten-man Newcastle Chemfica by the odd goal in five, all goals arriving in the second half.
Steve McLaughlin opened the scoring from the spot with Micky Fenwick equalising, Sam Grieveson restored the visitors lead but goals from Dan Foster and Jordan Miller in the final ten minutes turned the game on its head.
Leaders Newcastle University extended the gap to eleven points with a come from behind 6-2 home win against Ponteland, the visitors leading through Henry Rawlinson early on before first half braces from Keith Douglas and Lefteris Alambritis put the Students out in front by the break; Konrad Zylko made it five shortly after the restart and Olly Walden stamped the seal on the win before Scott Young nicked a second for the Pont late on.
Goals from Niki Langston and Tom Young gave Gateshead Rutherford a narrow 2-1 over Percy Main, a double from Cameron Cunningham helped Alnwick Town to a 3-0 home win over ten man Seaton Delaval, Joseph Threlfall with the third at the death and Shankhouse won 4-1 away to lowly North Shields Athletic.
Hosts Athletic led after just eleven minutes through Phil Watson but the Hoose turned it around to lead at the break through Oliver Young and Jay Younger, Chris Marshall made it three twenty minutes into the second period and Andrew Anderson put the result beyond doubt minutes later.
Killingworth reached the semi-final of the Northumberland Benevolent Bowl with a seemingly hard-fought win away to Wallington who had John Paxton notching three for them but they couldn’t contend with the Morien effect, Killy’s leading marksman, Malcolm Morien bagging another hat-trick, Konner Lamb also chipping in with a brace to help seal progression.
Two big games featured in the First at the weekend, and both went in favour of the away sides as, at the top of the table, Blyth Spartans Reserves dismantled high-flying hosts, Bedlington, 8-1 courtesy of a Karl Lazzari hat-trick and two for Liam Shanley; Adam Uddgren bagged a screamer and there were efforts from Andy Murray and Joe Shepperd, Joe Thompson replying.
At the opposite end of the table there was the small matter of the Wallsend derby, Kane Chirnside proving the hero with a four-goal salvo for the visitors Community, they emerging 6-4 victors as Ethan Brown and Liam Taylor also scored whilst Boys Club replied through a Liam Anderson treble and one for Stephen Buzzeo.
Sam Dibb-Fuller notched a brace as Prudhoe Youth Club won 5-3 at point-less Newcastle East End, Matty Bloomer, Aaron Fletcher and Sam Moore also scored whilst a Max Bell double and one for James Stewart kept matters interesting.
Braces featured in the games at Hebburn and Red Row as the former won 4-0 against Gosforth Bohemians, Daniel Maddison with a late brace adding to goals from David Lock and Graeme McCall, whilst in the latter a quick-fire brace from Ryan Thompson saw Seaton Burn to a 3-1 win at Red Row, Liam Hall also netting whilst Max Anderson replied.
Forest Hall were felled 4-1 at home to high-flying Winlaton, the Vulcans goals coming from Baldwin, Collins, Gibson and Waters with Johnson replying and Cullercoats won 2-1 with goals from Foster and Stephenson whilst Mabunu replied late on.
Rothbury and Whitley Sporting Club continue setting the pace atop of the Second Division following their respective home wins on Saturday afternoon.
The Reds edged past rivals Jesmond with the only goal of the game coming early in the second half through Sam Proudlock whilst the visitors finished with ten men whilst Whitley Sporting won 6-1 against visitors Coundon, Seaman with three, Atkinson, Betts and Adams also netting.
Cramlington United slipped up in their challenge for the title when they lost 3-2 away to Willington Quay Saints, hosts netting through Matty Adams and Alex Foreman in the first, Luke Taylor replying for United, and Ryan Ferrier notched what proved the winner midway through the second, although Anthony Brannon made for a nervy close.
Adam Bains fired a hat-trick, his first goal coming from the spot, as Ellington won 3-1 at Seaton Sluice, Richie Clarke with theirs in the final quarter whilst a brace from Campbell helped Cramlington Town to a 3-2 win away to Burradon.
Kyle Stocks netted twice for Wideopen as they won 4-2 at Blyth, Steve Spence and Kevin Ansty also scoring with Shay Richardson and Andy Welsh replying.
Two sides would net seven apiece, away from home as Whitburn kept in touching distance of the leaders with a 7-0 win at Stobswood where Joe Warren would score three and Anthony Chapman two, Alex Chapman and Daniel Wilson also scoring whilst Spittal Rovers won 7-1 away to Gateshead Redheugh with Paul Wood three and Dimitrijs Pavlaskis two featuring, Niall Jones at the start and Rhys Bloomfield the end of the second also netting.