RYHOPE CW remain out in front in the Ebac Northern League Division Two after racking up their fifth win in seven attempts, 2-1 at Chester-le-Street on Saturday.
John Butler opened the scoring with a first-half penalty and James Cook doubled the lead on the restart.
The hosts hit back and a Lewis Lynch shot was deflected into his own net by Greg Swansbury. Just before the end, former Cestrians goalkeeper Chris Rookes kept Ryhope ahead with a fantastic save.
Birtley Town and Washington shared six goals when fortunes ebbed and flowed throughout the afternoon.
Twice ahead through Mark Covell and Dean Walker, the Newtowners then trailed but clinched a point with Dan Young’s strike.
Stephen Telford, Kevin Dixon and Jack Honour struck for Birtley.
Horden CW failed to win any of their first four games but have taken six points from their last two after comfortably defeating Brandon United 3-0, thanks to Darren Atkinson, Neil Campbell and Paul Robson.
Seaham Red Star went behind to Matthew Scott’s seventh-minute strike but then led Tow Law Town courtesy of Daniel Gray and Channon North. Scott, though, netted again in a 2-2 draw.
Esh Winning moved into the top six when goals by Daniel Reeves and Jason Brazauskas proved sufficient to beat Alnwick 2-1, with James Jackson replying.
Jarrow Roofing made it three wins in four games when they defeated Whickham 2-0, thanks to Chris Goss and Lee McMahon (penalty).
In Division One, Sunderland RCA lost a seven-goal thriller to Norton and Stockton Ancients, who celebrated their first win in six matches.
RCA’s Gavin Barton, signed from Newton Aycliffe, bagged a brace in an impressive debut and Andy Appleby also struck, but Liam Woodhouse (2), Anthony Hume and Mark Lilley gave the Teessiders the edge.
Darlington 1883 are back in pole position after crushing Consett 5-0. Former Sunderland player David Dowson scored twice, with Amar Purewal, Chris Emms and Shaun Reay also on target.
Team Northumbria easily defeated pointless Billingham Town 3-0, thanks to Tom Davies, Mark Fenwick and James Middleton (og).
Billingham Synthonia rocked Whitley Bay 2-1, Chay Liddle and Craig Gott netting after Bay led with Lee-Paul Scroggins’ early effort.
Paul Broom’s second-half strike was enough for struggling Newton Aycliffe at home to Marske United, while Guisborough edged Newcastle Benfield 1-0 and Hebburn Town won 2-1 at Penrith, courtesy of Tony Stephenson and Paul Wardle.