These are worrying times for Durham City.
Not only are they having to play their “home” matches at Consett, but more disconcerting is the fact that they have now slipped to fifth-bottom spot in the First Division table.
Their long sequence without a win was extended on Saturday when leaders Shildon enjoyed a comfortable 3-1 victory.
It wasn’t until the 33rd minute, however, that the Citizens conceded the first goal as Anthony Bell finished off a good move by Ben Wood and Lewis Dodds.
Early in the second half, Michael Rae made it two from close range and it could well have been three on the hour mark, but goalkeeper Thomas Flynn came to City’s rescue, saving Bell’s penalty.
But a third goal was only delayed and man-of-the-match Rae ended any hopes of a Durham recovery.
Although Harvey Saunders claimed a consolation goal three minutes from time, the margin of City’s defeat would have been greater but for the heroics of goalkeeper Flynn.
In contrast to the form of Durham, Washington quickly recovered from the seven-goal drubbing they endured a week earlier and a 2-1 win over West Allotment Celtic lifted them into fourth place.
Mark Davison and John Butler were early scorers for Steve Hutchinson’s men, but, after Dean Deagle halved the deficit before the interval, it was again all to play for.
West Allotment belied their third-bottom placing and the Mechanics endured one of two anxious moments before securing the points.
Despite playing with 10 men for 50 minutes, Seaham Red Star were full value for a 3-1 home win over Bishop Auckland.
David Paul made an eventful debut for the Star.
The former Easington Colliery striker scored with a superb free-kick with only eight minutes on the clock, but, after Andrew Johnson levelled and then had a penalty saved by goalkeeper Shaun Newbrook, Paul was red-carded for retaliation.
Mark Collingwood’s depleted side, though, rose to the occasion and second-half strikes from Craig Lynch and Robbie Bird saw them safely home.
Shildon remain five points clear of Guisborough Town, who defeated Ashington 2-0 with two goals in the last nine minutes from Steve Snaith and Danny Earl.
Morpeth Town are third, nine points off the top with six games in hand, but whether their continued involvement in the FA Vase will be to their detriment, remains to be seen.
Bedlington Terriers are back at the bottom after losing to a Chris Emms goal which lifted West Auckland out of the relegation zone.
For some time, Norton and Stockton Ancients have looked down and out, but, all of a sudden, their hopes of avoiding the drop have increased.
They made it back-to-back wins, defeating Consett 3-0 courtesy of Ryu Williamson, Thibault Charmey and Nicky Martin.
Jarrow Roofing became only the fourth side to defeat title hopefuls Newton Aycliffe this term as Richard Paxton, James Fairley, Callum Paton and Shaun Vipond swept Richie McLoughlin’s team to an emphatic 4-0 victory.