Durham City were relegated to the Second Division of the Ebac Northern League following Saturday’s 4-0 drubbing at Whitley Bay in their penultimate game.
Chris Moore’s side needed to avoid defeat to have any chance of staying up, but, following a goalless first half at Hillheads, they conceded four times in the second period.
After surprisingly beating Guisborough last Tuesday, City went into the crucial match with their confidence boosted and, in the opening 45 minutes, held their own.
In fact, they had the first shot on target when Whitley goalkeeper Tom Flynn was forced to turn a splendid effort from Andre Basile-Ardelean over the bar.
City keeper Andrew Jennison made a fine save to deny Callum Patton, but Whitley, who stepped up a gear from the start of the second half, soon turned their supremacy into account.
Aiden Haley and Adam Shanks put them firmly in command and Chris McDonald struck twice in the closing stages, consigning Durham, together with Norton and Stockton Ancients and Bedlington Terriers, to the second level.
Former Durham boss Ian Chandler, put in temporary charge of Whitley in February, was confirmed as Bay’s permanent manager after the game.
Sunderland RCA signed off with a 2-0 win at Penrith where they looked much sharper than the home team.
Joe Hughes finished off a good move by slotting the ball past goalkeeper Aaron Taylor and, although the Cumbrians enjoyed a lot of possession, they never troubled stand-in keeper Colin Larkin. The Wearsiders just about made the points safe 20 minutes from time as Kevin Gordon raced onto a through ball and beat Taylor from the edge of the penalty area.
Marske United, champions last season, have been confirmed as runners-up to Shildon. The Seasiders left it late before seeing off Consett 2-1.
Jamie Owens was an early marksman, but, following Jordan Lavery’s equaliser, it took a late Adam Wheatley strike to give Marske all three points.
Morpeth Town twice led in their 3-2 derby defeat to Ashington.
Ex-Sunderland reserve Sean Taylor’s long-range effort after two minutes gave the FA Vase Finalists a perfect start, but Andrew Johnson soon levelled.
Taylor restored Morpeth’s lead, but Andrew Bulford and, close to full-time, James Taylor earned Ashington a 3-2 success.
North Shields gave Shildon a guard of honour before kick-off to recognise their achievement in winning the championship for the first time since 1940 – but this was their only concession. They edged the Railwaymen with an only goal by Ryan McGorrigan, who latched onto a poor back pass and fired wide of goalkeeper Kyle Hayes.
Newton Aycliffe blew a 2-0 lead, and a penalty chance for three, and paid the price as Bishop Auckland fought back to draw.
John Campbell and Dennis Knight had Aycliffe comfortable, but Edward Wilczynski dived to his left to save a Campbell spot-kick to lift Bishops.
Bishops duly rallied as Priestley Griffiths and a last-ditch equaliser by Andrew Johnson earned a 2-2 draw.