RYHOPE CW closed in on Ebac Northern League Second Division leaders Crook Town with last night’s 3-1 victory against Whickham.
Prolific scorer Chris Winn struck following a magnificent long run on the visitors’ defence which ended with him chipping goalkeeper Kyle Barlow.
Before the interval, Martin Metcalfe made it two following a goalmouth scramble and, on 85 minutes, Winn was again on target.
There was still time though for Ian Robson to convert a late penalty for the Glebemen.
Ryhope, still with two games in hand, now trail Crook by just three points.
Fourth-top North Shields – who rocked Crook with a 2-0 victory at the weekend – lost ground in the promotion race when they were surprisingly defeated by Thornaby at the Daren Persson Stadium.
Michael Joseph gave the Teessiders a second-minute advantage and Gary Mitchell doubled the lead on 20 minutes.
The Robins hit back with a 44th-minute strike from John Grey, but, despite carving out numerous chances in the second period, they were unable to produce an equaliser.
In Division One, Darlington 1883 strengthened their lead at the top of the table to 18 points and heaped more misery on basement side Norton and Stockton Ancients, who conceded six goals for the second time in three days.
Former Sunderland player David Dowson, Adam Nichols, Stephen Harrison and Amar Purewal, with a brace, had the Quakers five goals up before Callum Brown claimed a consolation goal for the Teessiders.
But 1883 then hit their struggling opponents for six as Stephen Johnson completed the scoring.
Newcastle Benfield, meanwhile, eased their relegation fears with victory over Bedlington Terriers.
Ex-Durham City striker Tommy English opened the scoring after 41 minutes and five minutes later Gary Day pounced on a rebound after goalkeeper Craig Pickering had parried a shot.