SUNDERLAND RCA continue to fly high in the STL Northern League following victory over Billingham Synthonia at Meadow Park on Saturday.
Two first-half goals earned them another three priceless points which keeps them just ahead of West Auckland Town on goal difference.
Andrew Jennings took the opportunity in the 11th minute to chase down a ball which should have been safely gathered by goalkeeper Josh Moody.
But when Moody mishandled, Jennings was left with a simple tap-in from close range.
Moody redeemed himself two minutes later, saving superbly to deny Alex Benjamin but he was powerless to prevent Lee Owens from doubling the lead on the half hour.
A long ball out of defence was knocked on by Jennings and Owens calmly slotted home.
The second half was competitive with chances for both teams. Benjamin was just off target with a chip and for Synners, Ross Gardner rounded Neil Atkinson but fired wide.
West Auckland were taken to the wire by South Shields at Filtrona Park before winning by the odd goal in seven.
Daryl Hall, Alex Francis, Michael Rae and Mattie Moffat, with an 89th minute winner, were the marksmen with Lee Bell, Johnny Wightman and Sean Sweeney on the mark for the Mariners.
Whitley Bay remain third after defeating in-form Ashington with strikes by Paul Chow (2) and Brian Smith. When Chow scored his first goal it was his 150th for the Seahorses. Gareth Bainbridge was credited with the Colliers’ only reply.
Fourth-top Spennymoor Town were firm favourites at relegation-threatened Billingham Town but they only just scraped home thanks to a Sonny Andrews penalty on 71 minutes.
Billingham Town are third-bottom and Tow Law are just beneath them after going down at Bishop Auckland where they had Derek Waters sent off after 33 minutes.
Bishops made the difference count and romped to victory courtesy of Aaron Wearmouth, Andrew Johnson and David Wells.
Stokesley SC are rock bottom but they showed promise in a 2-1 defeat by Guisborough Town, whose match-winners were Liam McPhillips and Luke Bythway. Owen Dixon reduced the deficit after being set up by Rob McDermid, signed from Whitby Town.
Jarrow Roofing are another side in trouble after losing to Norton and Stockton Ancients for whom Nathan Mulligan scored both goals.
In a bizarre first half, Norton had three different players in goal. Chris Porter started but went off injured to be replaced by substitute keeper David Alderson. He, too, was injured and outfield player Paul Grainger took over.
In Division Two, East Durham sides Easington Colliery and Horden CW continue to prop up the table.
Easington conceded five times to Hebburn Town, whose marksmen were Daniel Kirkup, Tony Stephenson, Stuart Wright, Paul King and an own-goal while Horden lost 3-1 on their visit to Northallerton Town.
Stephen Jackson cancelled out Carl Chillingsworth’s strike for the home side to raise the hopes of the Colliers but late goals from Colin Anderson and Dan Clayton proved costly for Brian Honour’s men.
Chester-le-Street moved out of the bottom three with an important win over Washington, who scored first through Jake Leighton.
Former Alnwick Town striker Tom Vickers levelled before two goals from Michael Coghlan and Callum Patton in seven second-half minutes earned the Cestrians crucial points.
Seaham Red Star are also in the bottom six after crashing to a five-goal defeat at promotion contenders West Allotment Celtic.
A big blow for Seaham came on 36 minutes when goalkeeper Paul McSween was sent off for a second offence.
At this stage, the game was goalless but the Tynesiders coasted home courtesy of Mark Minto (2), Craig McManus (og), Paul Swithenbank and Gary Day.
Birtley Town remain on the fringe of the promotion race after defeating Brandon United thanks to Andrew Soulsby and James Allsopp.
Esh Winning are now third following wins for leaders Team Northumbria and North Shields.