DURHAM City’s EBAC Northern League revival under manager Adam Furness and his assistant Ian Skinner continued on Saturday when they hit Billingham Town for six at New Ferens Park.
The Teessiders, struggling in the relegation zone, nevertheless went into the game having taken four points from their two previous matches and were confident of extending a mini-unbeaten sequence.
And when Harrison Davies gave them an early lead the omens looked good but eventually they were blasted in the second half.
Max Stoker levelled before the interval and there was no stopping the Citizens in the second period as five goals flowed from Paul Dixon, Conor Winter, Craig Ellison, Peter Glen-Ravenhill and Ian Ward.
Not so long ago, City were too near the bottom for comfort but the new managerial pair have steered their side to within a point of mid-table.
Sunderland RCA, beaten at Newton Aycliffe, are now below Durham on goals difference although they do have three games in hand on their rivals.
Martin Young and Danny Earl earned Aycliffe three crucial points as they attempt to remain clear of the drop zone.
South Shields prop up the table and despite twice leading through Barry Marshall and Chris Feasey, they suffered their 21st defeat in 25 games, at Penrith who eased their relegation fears with goals from Steven Rigg, Martin Coleman and Scott Allison.
The Mariners are joined in the bottom three by Billingham Town and Norton and Stockton Ancients, who led at Team Northumbria courtesy of Stuart Bath and Dale Mulligan only to be pegged back by Peter Watling and Ben Sayer, who struck an 88th minute equaliser.
Newcastle Benfield have been in free-fall for some weeks and are now fourth from the basement after losing to Ashington, whose match-winners were Glen Taylor and Andrew Johnson.
At the top, Spennymoor Town are only six points behind leaders Darlington 1883 with four games in hand after they saw off a strong challenge from Billingham Synthonia with an only goal from Gavin Cogden.
Seaham Red Star stay third in Division Two despite being surprisingly defeated by lowly Thornaby who won with strikes from Rocky Andrews (2) and Phil Horseman. Kevin Gordon and Anthony Burnell gave Red Star a chance but Thornaby remained ahead to ease their relegation worries.
Horden CW though are second from the basement after leaking another five goals, this time to West Allotment Celtic whose marksmen were Liam Hudson (2), Dean Lee, David Dormand and Mark Dummett. Dane Wilson and Michael Cain claimed a couple of consolation goals for the Colliers.
Washington conceded three goals in the last 10 minutes to Ross Hodgson and Nathan Porritt (2) in losing at Stokesley SC where Matthew Wade scored both goals for the Newtowners.
Chester-le-Street eased past Ryton and Crawcrook Albion thanks to Lewis Lynch and Craig Mickle before Ryton’s Brian Dodsworth and the Cestrians’ Michael Graver were sent off mid-way through the second period.
Later, Chester’s Gary Turton was also red-carded but the visitors held on and are now one place below the middle of the table.