MURTON saw their magnificent run of form shattered as rampant Whitehill kept up their own impressive surge with another big win.
A long ball from Murton bounced over keeper Scott Cresswell and hit the bar before Whitehill made an early breakthrough, with Steve McDonald crossing for Scott Hope to fire in.
Arnott hit the bar with a fierce drive when a hat-trick loomed in the second half
Craig Mickle doubled the lead after good work from Chris Trevena and McDonald, and he soon added a third on the break.
Mickle completed his hat-trick on another breakaway, following a tremendous Trevena tackle in his own box, before Scott Hope scored the goal of the game. His free-kick struck the wall but rebounded back to him and he thundered a volley into the top corner from 25 yards.
Mickle lobbed his fourth for a 6-0 lead, then Nick Mitchinson hit a seventh before Murton grabbed a consolation at 7-1 when John Dale’s shot flew into the top corner.
Mark Ruddock starred for Murton.
Sherburn Village WMC climbed to fourth place thanks to a fine 3-1 win over Ebchester Consett Reserves.
The visitors had an effort cleared off the line, before Sherburn’s Craig McManners’ shot grazed the post. The hosts went ahead when Chris Brown crossed for Nicky Marley to plant a header into the bottom corner.
Jack Wilkes’ cross somehow managed to slip under Sherburn’s keeper to level, but a flick by Alex Hird found Scott Arnott, at the far post, to head Sherburn back in front.
It was 3-1 right on half-time, with Arnott’s 22-yard free-kick sailing into the top corner.
Arnott hit the bar with a fierce drive when a hat-trick loomed in the second half, while Aiden Jackson had an effort tipped over the bar.
Sherburn’s Scott Arnott struck the bar with a fierce drive on 88. Sherburn ran out comfortable winners in the end.
Ferryhill Town rocked Sedgefield NetPark by earning a positive result for the first time since October, recording a hard-fought 1-1 away draw in tricky, windy conditions.
Sedgefield had the strong wind in the second half but found their resolute visitors defending deeply.
Ferryhill took a surprise lead with their only shot on target, courtesy of Gareth Armstrong, but Sedgefield pushed hard and equalised from the penalty spot, after a handball offence, with Brian Fairhurst on target.
Matthew Jackson stood out for Ferryhill, who will take real heart from their hard-won point, with Jordan Hilder best for NetPark.
Birtley succumbed 2-1 at home to Hartlepool Reserves – after taking the lead.
Birtley started the brighter and created a couple of chances before a cracking free-kick from Sean Lewis saw them in front on 17 minutes.
The hosts retained their lead until Carl O’Sullivan levelled with a well-worked goal five minutes into the second half, and Pool sealed victory five minutes from time, with O’Sullivan again on target, following a wasted set piece by Birtley.
Jonathan Swift shone for Birtley.
Horsley Hill extended their lead at the top of the table courtesy of a 3-0 win at home to a strong Wheatley Hill WMC outfit.
Midfielder Phil Gray worked his way past three players and calmly slotted home a 35th-minute opener. Wheatley applied good pressure in the second half, but they failed to create clear-cut chances and Horsley capitalised to seal victory with further goals from Kyle Houshby (penalty) and sub Levi Collins.
Lee Westgarth starred for Wheatley.
Coundon & Leeholme secured their place in the Auckland Charity Cup final, defeating Crook and District League side Willington WMC 2-0.
Ben Collinson and Matt Allison notched either side of the break.
In midweek, Whitehill beat Wheatley Hill WMC 3-0, with Scott Hope’s double supported by a Craig Mickle strike.
Ebchester Consett Reserves edged a 3-2 victory at Brandon United Reserves, who had Aiden King and Dan Robinson responding to Stephen Agnew’s decisive hat-trick.