Newcastle Blue Star consolidated second place in Ebac Northern League Division Two with a 13th away win of the season in front of a bumper Easter Monday crowd of 302 at Kingsley Park.

The game swung from end to end in the opening 20 minutes although neither keeper was seriously tested.

The first clear-cut chance on seven minutes fell to Ryton & Crawcrook Albion centre forward Aaron Costello who was found in plenty of space in the box but fired over on the angle from 10 yards when he should have hit the target.

At the other end, following a better spell for the visitors, the ball broke kindly in the box to an unmarked Rio Joisce, who had only been signed on loan from Blyth Spartans the previous day, but his low strike flew across he face of goal and wide of the far post.

Their first corner in the 13th minute was headed away and, on the break, Costello won possession near half-way before sprinting towards the left side of the box. He looked up and squared it to Matthew Todd but the unmarked winger's shot sailed over the bar.

Blue Star continued to see plenty of the ball in opposition territory and forced a second corner on 24 minutes from which Tom Potter's curling delivery into the six-yard box was headed clear.

Joisce's debut proved to be short-lived as he limped off injured in the 27th minute and was replaced by the experienced Regan Paterson.

Just after the half-hour mark, the visitors were awarded a penalty by referee Barry Tones after Alfie Livermore appeared to be pushed over in the box by full back Scott Oldfield.

Top-scorer Dan Lanning stepped up to take the spot-kick and saw his effort brilliantly saved by the outstretched leg of Brogan Colquhoun who had dived to his right.

On the counter-attack, a short spell of pressure from Albion ended with striker Rhys McLeod's 25 yard drive being saved low down by Philip Mills.

The deadlock was finally broken by the visitors on 40 minutes. A missed tackle on the edge of the box played in Paterson who was forced wide by Colquhoun but had the composure to fire home from a tight angle (0-1).

However, their joy was temporary as the hosts were back on level terms within two minutes. Costello drove into the box and beat two defenders, displaying great close control in the process, before slotting it beyond Mills into the bottom corner for his 30th league goal of the season (1-1).

In a lively end to the half, Paterson spurned a decent chance when he cut inside from the left and, as space opened up, blazed a 20 yard effort over the bar, moments before midfielder Tom McIntyre was brought down in the box but Blue Star's vociferous appeals for what looked a certain penalty were waved away.

Soon after the re-start, Joseph Groves-Forbes got on the end of Todd's pinpoint cross and saw his firm header well saved by Mills.

Straight down the other end, a long range strike was turned around the post by Colquhoun for a corner on the right. The hosts were forced to concede a second one in quick succession from which Blue Star regained the lead. An inswinging delivery into the heart of the six-yard box saw centre half Shaun Ryder get there just ahead of Colquhoun to bundle the ball over the line from close range (1-2).

Albion then forced three corners in the space of a minute with keeper Mills relieved that his defenders were on hand to clear the loose ball from the six-yard box after he failed to gather the third delivery cleanly.

On 55 minutes, Albion spurned another opportunity when a free-kick from Daniel Craggs picked out Callum Oldfield who sent a free header straight into the arms of Mills.

At the other end, Connor Oliver's pinpoint free-kick found Lanning unmarked inside the box and Colquhoun was at full stretch to palm away the striker's sweetly struck right-footed volley. Moments later, the keeper saved Potter's effort from an acute angle.

It was one-way traffic at this stage with the visitors winning a string of corners which ultimately came to nothing.

Ryder's long ball down the right flank was missed by Scott Oldfield allowing Lanning to pick it up and he drove towards the byline before delivering a low cross that was gathered at the second attempt by Colquhoun.

On 77 minutes, a rare Albion attack down the left ended with Oldfield winning a corner from which substitute Michael Baxter's delivery was met by Costello who saw his looping header safely claimed on the line by Mills.

The visitors' keeper enjoyed a much quieter second half than he might have expected with his lime green kit still almost pristine clean at the end of the game, and his side safely negotiated four minutes of stoppage time to clinch a hard fought win.

With only six games to play, a top three finish will guarantee Blue Star a home tie in the promotion play-off semi-finals.