South Shields Westoe clinched a superb 14-0 DN1 victory away at Hartlepool to maintain their promotion push.
Having the majority of both possession and territory throughout the first half, Westoe pressed hard against a Hartlepool side who defended well.
The Westoe pack hounded their opposition throughout, with some aggressive defence, led by Andy Kirton, Raymie Elliott and Sam Gaff.
Despite the pressure, Westoe slipped up at the final drive due to the difficult conditions.
The first score did not come until the last minute of the half when, after a series of Hartlepool offsides, Westoe were awarded a penalty and they opted for the scrum.
Powering their way across the line, a Hartlepool flanker illegally kicked the ball from the scrum.
Westoe were awarded a penalty try and Hartlepool were given their first yellow of the day.
In a game that was never going to produce any free-flowing play, both sides still managed to put on a show, with their big packs hammering each other throughout the game.
In the second half, most attacking options were thwarted by a Hartlepool team who closed down Westoe’s backline before they had any chance of spinning the ball wide.
The half did see several penetrating runs, the best from Worthington, Preston and Potts.
With players becoming increasingly frustrated with the conditions and a zealous whistle, the inevitable scuffle broke out, involving players from both sides.
At this point, one of Hartlepool’s substitutes decided to run onto the pitch, but the referee handed out a red card for foul play.
He deemed the red card sufficient and Hartlepool were not required to drop to 14 players.
With the final whistle approaching it was Westoe that had the final say.
Connor Pascoe surged down the wing, offloaded to scrum-half Judson, who gave the final pass to James Sant, and he powered his way over the line to secure the 14-0 victory.
Westoe now sit in second spot of the DN1 and it’s now looking like a three-horse race, with Northern and Barnard Castle, for the promotion and play-off spots.