Monkseaton High School U18s are on the verge of losing their grip on the league championship.
They were held at home by Ashington High School Sports College 2-2 on Tuesday afternoon.
The results means Ashington lead Monkseaton at the head of the table by three points, and although the North Tynesiders could draw level on points with a win over Walbottle today (Wednesday), they would have to make up an almost impossible 18-goal deficit in goal difference.
Ashington, who went into the game after losing 1-0 to Monkseaton in the County Cup final at Woodhorn Lane last week, made a dream start as they took the lead in the second minute.
Dan Costello’s free kick from distance was touched over by home keeper Danny Nimmins and from Callum Johnston’s corner on the left, Harry Bainbridge netted with a firm header.
As in the final, Monkseaton enjoyed a lot of possession but Ashington defended resolutely and it was not until the quarter hour mark before keeper Cameron Bowman was called into the action, easily fielding a header from Toy Spratt.
However, the Ashington stopper saved in fine style on the half hour to prevent an equaliser from Femi Williams after a left wing cross by Robert Taylor before Liam Wotherspoon, Monkseaton’s match winner in the cup final, delivered a cross which flashed along the six yards line.
The match was back in the melting pot within a minute of the second half as the home side drew level.
A great diagonal pass from the back found Hylton Hub on the right touchline and when he whipped over a low cross, Daniel Troy hammered in.
Minutes later, Bowman pushed over a 25 yarder from Taylor, but in the 54th minute the visitors regained the lead.
Johnston was fouled 25 yards out and the striker blasted home a peach of a free kick with a right footer into the top corner which gave Nimmins no chance.
However, on the hour, David Fairgrieve slipped the ball through for Taylor who fired wide of Bowman to restore parity.
Monkseaton High School: Nimmins, Devitt, Tate, Ingram, Mitchell, Hayton, Clark, Wotherspoon, Williams, Fairgrieve, Spratt. Subs: Taylor, Hub, Scott, Troy, Morton.
Ashington High School SC: Bowman, Adkins, Bainbridge, Robinson, Hills, Bains, Costello, Johnston, Bone, Green, Hudson.