THE game of the day in the STL Northern League was between champions Spennymoor Town and runners-up Consett. Not surprisingly, the sides shared the points.
Peter Jameson rescued the Steelmen with a first-half penalty save from Keith Graydon but he was powerless in preventing Gavin Cogden heading the home side in front.
Cogden could have made it two when one-on-one with the goalkeeper but Jameson somehow managed to keep the ball out of the net with his outstretched foot.
Moors went down to 10 men with Cogden’s dismissal and Consett claimed the equaliser as Michael Mackay beat Craig Turns from the spot.
Newcastle Benfield were quickly out of the blocks at Guisborough Town, where they established a three-goals lead by half time courtesy of Johnny Mann, Michael Chilton and Phil Lumsden.
Luke Bythway threw the newly-promoted Teessiders a glimmer of hope but Paul Baker’s men were never in danger and Shaun Bell sealed a comfortable victory.
South Shields twice equalised but failed to prevent Bedlington Terriers claiming all three points.
New signing from Durham City, Tommy English, made an impressive debut giving the home side an early advantage but Alex Benjamin restored parity within three minutes.
Fortunes ebbed and flowed and after Stephen Richardson restored the lead to Bedlington, Yanis Galas equalised.
It was Terriers who finished the stronger side and goals by Anthony Shandran and Stephen Bowey gave them a perfect start.
Whitley Bay appeared to be heading for victory when they led Dunston UTS through Paul Robinson and David Pounder, but after Andrew Bulford struck at the other end, he earned a point for his side with a late equaliser.
Ashington led for almost an hour through captain Chris Scott, who scored direct from the corner flag but had to settle for a point at Norton and Stockton Ancients, for whom Callum Brown levelled.
There was a remarkable game on Teesside where Jarrow Roofing defeated Billingham Town 5-4. Ashley Myers, David Malloy, Paul Robinson (2) and Chris Hughes, with a stoppage-time winner, were on the mark for Roofing with Craig Norman (3) and Jamie Owens responding.
Newly-promoted Marske United grabbed a last-minute winner through Craig Skelton at Tow Law Town and, despite having two players sent off in the first half, Sunderland RCA held Shildon to a draw. Carl Beasley and Glen Barton departed before Joe Walton and Lee Owens fired the Wearsiders into a two-goals lead. Richard Paxton and Warren Byrne earned Shildon a point scoring in the final seven minutes.
In Division Two, West Allotment Celtic, relegated last season, opened with a victory at Gillford Park, where Mark Minto scored the only goal.
Ryton and Crawcrook Albion also dropped down in May but they suffered defeat at Darlington RA, where they had Don Olusago dismissed after half an hour. Stephen Allison was the matchwinner midway through the second period.
Hebburn Town coasted to victory at Horden CW with strikes from Chris Tate (2), Liam McBryde and Tony Stephenson. Stephen Jackson’s goal was all the Colliers could muster.
Despite scoring three times at home through Stephen Telford (2) and Andy McIntosh, Birtley Town lost out to Thornaby, whose matchwinners were Stephen Telford and Paul Thorns who both struck twice.
Tony Thirkell, with a brace, Scott Robson and Graeme King found the net in Whickham’s 4-4 draw at Whitehaven, who replied through Craig Robson, Craig Lewis and Kevin Connelly (2).
Andy Hay fired North Shields ahead at Alnwick Town, who levelled thanks to Adam Shanks and, after establishing a two-goal lead through Peter Watling and Mark Bircham, Team Northumbria were pegged back by Crook Town’s Kevin Devine and Ian Bickerstaff.
Michael Latimer’s goal was sufficient for Washington at home to Morpeth Town, while Seaham Red Star and Chester-le-Street both failed to produce a goal.