ROB MacGregor pulled off two spectacular penalty saves as Gateshead Rutherford took a huge step towards Premier Division safety, writes Jon Tait.
The Rutherford number one has been a tremendously consistent performer since joining the club from Hebburn Reyrolle in the summer and his acrobatics ensured three crucial points against Walker Central.
Rutherford were 3-0 up and cruising before the hour, with strikes from Chris Morris, Sean Todhunter (pen) and Graeme Troughton.
MacGregor brilliantly kept out a Paul Collinson spot-kick but, five minutes later, Walker were awarded another and Ian Mills made no mistake from 12 yards this time.
Sub Ross Taylor added a fourth for Rutherford but Collinson made amends for his miss when he hit the net to set up a nervy finish in the last minute.
With the game five minutes into stoppage time, Central were awarded a third penalty and MacGregor was again at his agile best to keep out Mills’ effort.
Ponteland United moved out of the bottom two as Billy Holden netted a double against Blyth Town, with Matty Robinson grabbing the other for the black and whites.
David Atkinson had levelled for Town just before the interval.
Stocksfield also claimed three important points as Chris Fairless’s headed opener against Killingworth was followed up by a second from Steve Forster.
Hebburn Reyrolle’s 4-0 success over Shankhouse put them top of the table.
Channon North and Ray Oshin netted in quick succession in the first half and a late double from Carl Thorpe completed the victory, while second-placed Harraby CC got out of jail when David Fisher headed the only goal of the game at unlucky basement side Murton in the 86th minute.
Heaton Stannington’s three-game losing streak was ended when Jonathon Wright smashed the only goal against Percy Main into the roof of the net with a thunderous 25-yard volley and Seaton Delaval’s Danny McGuire gave them the lead against Ashington Colliers.
Selsos Anjos leapt to power a header into the top corner for number two and Paul Katz added the third. The Colliers grabbed a consolation in the final minute when keeper Phil Hogg spilled a free-kick into his own-goal.
AMBLE United put one foot in the Premier Division as second-half goals from Sean Taylor (2) and Brad Wake gave them a 3-0 over Wallington.
Josh Davison, Chris Holt and Tom Smith all fired in for Newcastle Uni at Cramlington Town.
Cullercoats had Robert Watson, Sean Smith and Dominic Gillespie on target in their win over Morpeth Sporting Club.
KICKS LEISURE FIRST DIVISION SUBSIDIARY CUP
DEREK Graham gave Wallsend Town the lead at Heddon in Group A of the Subsidiary Cup and an own goal doubled their advantage. Perry Veitch pulled one back, but Heddon couldn’t force the issue while a Dan Child strike gave Gosforth Bohs the three points at Newcastle Chemfica Independent in Group B.
PAUL Newton-Eddy crashed in a hat-trick for Division Two leaders Red House Farm at Northbank, but they were pegged back by goals from Warren Douglas, Neil Thorley and Paul Fiddler.
Hexham closed the gap at the top to ten points with goals from Liam Heenan, James Peel and Gavin Cox against Alnwick Town Reserves, who pulled one back through Colin Bickerton.
First-half strikes by Scott Westaway, Dylan Williamson and Carl Sayer gave Bedlington Terriers Reserves a good win over Seaton Burn, while Wallsend Boys Club found themselves 2-0 up at Whickham Lang Jacks in three minutes with an own-goal and a Adam Gibson penalty.
John Dewhirst netted for Jacks, but Jordan Allcock added a third for Wallsend.
Keagan McDermott gave Harton & Westoe a first-half lead at Wideopen and late goals from Shaun Edwards and Craig Lumley made sure of the three points before Andrew Shaw grabbed a late consolation and John Foggett made no mistake with a penalty to give Willington Quay Saints the advantage against Cramlington United.
Noel Clynch sealed the win with Daniel Rowell on target for the improving bottom side.
John Wright and Ollie Cartwright were Alston’s match winners at Swalwell, who had Adam McVickers on target, and it ended all-square between North Shields Athletic and New Fordley.
Ben Pollock and Jimmy Anderson grabbed the Athletic goals with Lee Waugh and Louis Boddy claiming the replies.
RESULTS (March 17)
Gateshead Rutherford 4 Walker Central 2
Heaton Stannington 1 Percy Main Ams 0
Hebburn Reyrolle 4 Shankhouse 0
Murton 0 Harraby CC 1
Ponteland United 3 Blyth Town 1
Seaton Delaval Ams 3 Ashington Colliers 1
Stocksfield 2 Killingworth Sporting 0
Amble United 3 Wallington 0
Cramlington Town 0 Newcastle Uni 3
Cullercoats 3 Morpeth SC 0
KICKS LEISURE FIRST DIVISION SUBSIDIARY CUP, SECTION A
Heddon 1 Wallsend Town 2
KICKS LEISURE FIRST DIVISION SUBSIDIARY CUP, SECTION B
Newcastle Chem Ind 0 Gosforth Bohemians 1
Bedlington Terriers Res 3 Seaton Burn 0
Hexham 3 Alnwick Town Res 1
North Shields Ath 2 New Fordley 2
Northbank 3 Red House Farm 3
Swalwell 1 Alston 2
Whickham Lang Jacks 1 Wallsend BC 3
Wideopen & Dist 1 Harton & Westoe 3
Willington Quay Saints 2 Cramlington United 1