Easington Colliery climbed two places in the league with a 2-1 win over Whickham on Saturday afternoon despite having goal scorer Michael Bulmer sent off.
Bulmer opened the scoring in the 22nd minute and Aaron Croft finished a fine team move to double Easington’s lead two minutes into the second period.
Bulmer was then sent off for foul language and in-form Whickham piled the pressure on before pulling one back through Ross Nicholson.
The Colliers held on though and claimed an impressive three points, which lifts them above Durham City and Whickham.
Easington made two changes from last week’s win over Ryton & Crawcrook Albion with Chris Pearson and Michael Bulmer coming in for Chris Freeman and David Paul.
The Green Army started well and in the eighth minute, Dylan Elliott danced his way through before winning a free-kick on the edge of the penalty area. Reece Kenney took responsibility but John Mordey collected at the second time of asking.
With Whickham’s first real chance, a Kallum Broadhead free-kick dropped to Andy Brown at the back post but the former Prudhoe Town man couldn’t find the target with a half volley.
The deadlock was to be broken in the 22nd minute after Adamson won the Green Army consecutive corners. Croft floated the latter into the penalty area where a Lewis Turnbull bullet header was well saved by Mordey, though he could only push the ball into the path of Bulmer who fired home from close range.
With a one-goal lead, Easington were playing some attractive football and with Croft in particular causing problems for Whickham. The former Washington man was spraying balls from left to right, giving the Colliers plenty of room to attack.
He was almost key to a second goal for Easington in the 27th minute after his crossfield ball found Adamson, and the 17-year-old crossed to find Jack Pounder who was dispossessed at the vital moment.
Whickham responded as the first half came to a close but failed to create any clear-cut chances and the Colliers went into the break with a slender lead.
Easington couldn’t have hoped for a better start to the second half as they doubled their lead with only 100 seconds played. The Colliers broke from a Whickham free-kick and superb free-flowing football saw Adamson and Pounder link up before spraying the ball out to Croft, who cut in and fired a low effort under Mordey and into the net.
It was a fine team goal from the Colliers who were playing some very attractive football. And soon after, Croft could have collected his second but his cross-cum-shot from a free-kick was a relatively comfortable take for Mordey.
Bulmer volleyed narrowly wide for Easington before being shown the red card in the 57th minute. In a decision that bewildered the home dugout, Bulmer was given his marching orders for his use of language towards referee Reece Scott.
The sending off seemed to spur Whickham on and they grew into the game as time wore on; nineteen minutes from time, Sam Hedley crossed to find Fitzpatrick but he failed to find the target with a glancing header.
The pressure eventually told a quarter of an hour from time as Whickham did manage to half the deficit. Nicholson was played in and the substitute made no mistake in slotting under Donaldson to give the visitors hope.
Whickham continued to push in the final 10 minutes with Fitzpatrick and John Martin going close, but there was no breakthrough and Easington claimed an impressive three points.
Full-time: Easington Colliery 2-1 Whickham
Easington Colliery: Donaldson, Croft, Adamson (Page, 64′), Pearson (c), Ball, Turnbull, Elliott (Freeman, 76′), Jones, Bulmer, Pounder (Paul, 90′), Kenney
Unused subs: Powell, Norton
Whickham: Mordey, Soutar, Hedley, Brown, Clasper, McGee (Fraser, 70′), Lancaster, Martin (c), Mark Fitzpatrick (Nicholson, 58′), Broadhead, David Fitzpatrick (Fenwick, 53′)
Unused subs: Norton, Rook