Washington secured a crucial win at home to Newcastle Benfield, only their third of the season in Division One, on Saturday.
That lifted Neil Hixon’s new-look team up to fourth-bottom spot.
The Mechanics took the lead in the 40th minute, when Matty Waters brilliantly lobbed goalkeeper Andrew Grainger.
Benfield started the second half much brighter and were rewarded when they equalised in the 63rd minute, the ever-reliable Paul Brayson heading a Dylan McEvoy corner past keeper Dale Connor.
But, in the 83rd minute, a great cross from left-back Anthony Callaghan was dummied by Mark Costello and George McCain raced in to fire the ball home, clinching three crucial points for the Nissan-based side.
At the top, North Shields lost their unbeaten record, going down 3-2 at Jarrow Roofing.
North Shields were 2-1 up with just 10 minutes left, courtesy of Ryan Carr and Lee Mason, but Michael Mackay scored his second goal of the game to level the match up at 2-2, then Paul Chow headed home a dramatic 92nd-minute winner.
Joint boss Mark Collingwood said: “We’ve had a run of games where we’ve threatened that result.
“I knew somebody was going to come a cropper here, but I didn’t expect that team to be North Shields. However, I don’t think anyone could deny us that win, because I felt that we were the best side.”
South Shields reduced the lead at the top to two points, following a comfortable 4-0 win at Morpeth Town. Goals from Gavin Cogdon (2), Andrew Stevenson and Wayne Phillips, with a real screamer, ensured the three points.
In Division Two, Easington Colliery moved up into fourth place following a hard-fought 2-1 triumph at bottom club Esh Winning.
Goals from Sean Smith (44th minute) and Jack Pounder (51st) gave the visitors a 2-0 lead, but Alex Hird reduced the arrears in the 73rd minute to ensure a nervy finale for the visitors.
Durham City kept their promotion ambitions on track, with a fine 2-1 away win at Darlington RA.
An early goal gave City the lead, when Kyle Patton drilled a close-range shot past goalkeeper Callum Liddicott.
On the hour mark, RA equalised when Danny Peak converted a penalty, beating goalkeeper Daniel Gladstone.
But City claimed the points late on, when Bradley Hird scored from close range, with just two minutes left.
Brandon United went down 2-0 at home to Heaton Stannington.
Lee Johnson opened the scoring with a neat header past goalkeeper Tom Lawton and Paul Blackett made it 2-0 in the 93rd minute, tapping home from close range.
Crook Town remain fourth-bottom after going down 2-0 at Ryton & Crawcrook Albion.
Josh Holland’s header and a late Sam Moore shot sealed the win for the home side.
Tow Law Town lost 3-1 at home to Norton & Stockton Ancients, Chris Mordue firing the home goal.
Willington’s miserable run continued when they lost 1-0 at home to Hebburn Town.
Channon North scored in the 31st minute, when he picked up the ball from just outside the box and fired home from 14 yards, giving goalkeeper Luke Cowie no chance.
Bishop Auckland fought gamely but lost their FA Cup fourth qualifying round tie 2-0 at National League North outfit Stockport County, with Danny Lloyd bagging both goals.
Spennymoor Town, flying high in the Evo-Stik League Premier Division, did clinch a place in tonight’s first round draw when Joe Tait, David Dowson and Graeme Armstrong saw off Lincoln United 3-0.
Gateshead rallied from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 at Alfreton, thanks to a Sam Jones brace. They replay on Wednesday.