STOKESLEY finished with only nine players, but Sunderland RCA failed to press home their advantage and had to settle for a point.
The home side went ahead on 24 minutes as Stephen Morrison fired past goalkeeper Gareth Hoggeth and in the 68th minute Glen Robson was sent off for a challenge on Steven Jones.
RCA levelled six minutes from time when Richard Logan’s wind-assisted shot deceived everybody and found the net.
A minute from the end of normal time Morrison became the second Stokesley player to be red-carded.
Consett maintained their five-points lead at the top with victory at Billingham Town. Scott Martindale broke the deadlock after an hour, but the game was into stoppage time before the Steelmen made sure of the points with a second goal from Anthony Lund.
Second-placed Spennymoor Town had their work cut out before defeating bottom-of-the-table Ryton with first-half strikes from Stephen Capper (pen) and Gavin Cogden.
The two sides immediately below the leading pair both conceded points.
Third-top Newcastle Benfield leaked a last-minute goal to Billingham Synthonia’s Nathan Jameson after John Campbell had given them a lead they held for 75 minutes.
Bedlington Terriers scored first through Alex Benjamin at Shildon, who levelled courtesy of Chris Hughes. Shildon pressed in the later stages but were unable to produce a winning goal and remain fourth.
Whitley Bay are fifth and they, too, were taken to the wire by Penrith. An only goal on the stroke of half time from Craig McFarlane earned Ian Chandler’s side the points.
Bishop Auckland passed up several scoring opportunities and were shown the way to goal by Norton and Stockton Ancients, whose marksmen were Jamie Clarke, Craig Bishop, Nathan Mulligan and Craig Gott.
West Auckland Town were another side to score four times, this time at Jarrow Roofing.
Andrew Green, Mark Stephenson, Matthew Moffat and Daniel Hindmarch netted, with Roofing’s only reply an own goal by Ian Maddison.
Ashington produced the biggest win of the day when they romped home against Tow Law Town, for whom Andrew Thompson bagged a brace of goals.
Most of the activity was at the other end, where the goals flowed from hat-trick hero Andrew Johnson, Iain Nickalls, Mark O’Dea and Damon Mullen.
IN Division Two, Chester-le-Street dominated their first half, but Whitehaven controlled the second 45 minutes at Chester Moor Park.
Mick Kane and Ben Johnson had the Cestrians comfortably ahead at the interval, but the Cumbrians secured all three points with second-half goals by Darren Donald (2), Malcolm Holliday and Craig Robson.
Horden CW continued their rise from near the bottom of the table when they held promotion candidates Marske United to a draw. Danny Brunskill fired the Seasiders in front and Chapin levelled near the end.
Brandon United won for only the third time when they eased past Birtley Town thanks to Ian Pritchard, Ben Harris (pen) and Stephen Fothergill. Birtley’s only reply was a Shaun McAvoy penalty.
With the three leading sides inactive, Whickham failed to take advantage as they lost an eight-goal thriller to improving Darlington RA.
Freddie Huscroft hit a hat-trick, with Dale Eddie and Paul Freary also on target for RA. Sam McIntosh, Scott Robson and Scott Watson responded for Whickham, who stay fourth.