An injury-hit Sunderland Spartans held off the Northumbria Mustangs spirited comeback to secure their first win of the season.

A converted touchdown in the second quarter and a safety in the third was just enough to keep the Mustangs at bay which, despite their late-game charge, saw the final score finish 10-6 in favour of the men in orange.

However, the tightly contested derby came at a cost to the Spartans as they lost another lineman to a knee injury early in the game, leaving them with limited options on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball.

The first quarter began with the Spartans and the Mustangs cancelling eachother out on defence. However, it was the Spartans offence which produced the first big play of the game, with QB Trevor Hill throwing a beautiful pass on second down to wide receiver Johnny Black, who carved his way through the Mustangs secondary to make a big gain. The momentum was short-lived though as the Mustangs defence shut out the Spartans, ensuring the score was level at the end of the first quarter.

The Spartans, with a point to prove after three defeats on the bounce, opened the scoring midway through the second quarter when QB Hill took advantage of the Mustangs secondary again to find leading receiver Jonny Grey in enough space to run the ball into the end zone. QB Hill then carried the ball into the end zone on a 2 point conversion play to take the score to 8-0 at the half-time break, much to the annoyance of the Mustangs coaching team.

The third quarter began with even more pressure from the Spartans, this time on defence, as pressure on the Mustangs offensive line forced a poor snap, leaving their QB with no choice but to fall on the ball, conceding a safety in the process to take the score to 10-0.

However, with the Spartans tiring on both sides of the ball in the 4th quarter, the Mustangs were able to take advantage, scoring a touchdown with only minutes left on the clock which after a unsuccessful conversion, took the score to 10-6. It was only a heroic effort from the Spartans defence which kept the scores as they were to bring home their first win of the season.

After the game, Spartans head coach Pete Nichol was full of praise after his sides victory.

“We played one hell of a game,” said Nichol. “Players were having to go both ways and it took a lot of hard work to get over the line but we got there.”

Team captain Sherief El-Shakankery was full of emotion as he echoed his head coaches comments.

“We showed some serious resolve today and put in some serious hard work, that’s why we won,” boomed Sherief.

He also mentioned how, as the longest serving member of the Spartans team, that “he has never been as proud to be a member of this team as he is now.”

Next week, Sunderland Spartans welcome Edinburgh Napier Knights to Druids Park on the 3rd December, their last match before the Christmas break.