Washington were the latest side to feel the might of First Division leaders North Shields when they were hit for six at the Nissan Sports Complex on Saturday.
It was backs-to-the-wall from kick-off for Richie Latimer’s men, and the Mechanics’ hopes of causing an upset evaporated by the 16th minute.
Man-of-the-match Lee Mason rifled a hat-trick. There was an element of luck about his first goal, but his second strike was delivered with such ferocity that goalkeeper Dan Gladstone had no chance of saving.
Mason’s third came as he raced clear of the back line, rounded Gladstone and calmly placed his shot into the unguarded net.
Craig McFarlane made it 4-0, before Gary Shaw reduced the deficit directly from a corner flag. But here was no stopping the Robins – and Mason in particular.
The scoring predator took his personal tally to four, striking at the back post, and North Shields made it six with substitute Gary Bainbridge chipping Gladstone.
Ryhope CW edged Ashington 2-1 at home, after trailing to Dan O’Reilly’s drive after 25 minutes.
The inspirational James Ellis quickly restored parity, his effort evading goalkeeper Conor Grant.
Both teams had chances to bag the vital third goal, but the only one taken was by Ryhope’s Joey Melvin, whose 56th-minute effort proved to be the winner.
Late on, Ashington pressed after Ryhope’s Tom Bott had been shown a red card, but Gary Pearson’s side successfully defended their narrow lead.
Chester-le-Street face a formidable challenge to avoid making an immediate return to the Second Division.
Theie 2-0 defeat at Newton Aycliffe was their 20th in 26 games and leaves them stranded at the bottom of the table.
The Cestrians held their own until a minute before the break when Josh Gray’s curling effort found the far corner of the net.
The visitors were always in with a chance, but, eight minutes from time, Zak Boagey turned in a low cross and the Cestrians’ hopes ended.
Seaham Red Star were within seconds of claiming all three points at Whitley Bay, but they had to settle for a 3-3 draw.
Three of the first four goals came from the penalty spot.
Craig Lynch struck twice for Star and Callum Patton despatched his spot-kick into the net for Bay. Alex Kempster also netted to make it 2-2.
It appeared that Bradley Staunch’s 62nd-minute goal would prove to be the winner for Red Star, but, in added time, Tom Gilbey snatched a dramatic equaliser.
Jarrow Roofing improved their position near the bottom of the table with an excellent 3-1 success at Marske United.
Paul Gardiner and Chris Winn fired Richie McLoughlin’s men into a two-goal lead, before Glen Butterworth replied. Gardiner, though, buried an 88th-minute shot into the top corner of the net to seal the win.
West Auckland are also looking over their shoulders but they also boosted their survival chances by winning 3-2 at Consettm.
Adam Burnicle, with a brace, and Mattie Moffat were their matchwinners, with Brian Close (own goal) and Danny Craggs (penalty) on target for the Steelmen.
Dale Burrell and Warren Byrne (2) netted in vain for Dunston UTS as Martyn Coleman’s hat-trick led Penrith home 4-3, with a last-gasp winner.
Despite conceding a fourth-minute lead to Liam McPhillips, Bishop Auckland strolled to a 4-1 success at Guisborough. Stuart Thompson (2), Sam Orritt and Andrew Johnson did the damage.
Newcastle Benfield were another side to win easily as they defeated Tyneside rivals West Allotment Celtic 4-0, thanks to man-of-the-match Paul Brayson, who rifled a hat-trick, and an own goal from Paul Stoneman.
In Division Two, Durham City are fifth, just three points behind Billingham Synthonia, who occupy the last promotion place.
The Citizens came from behind to defeat Northallerton Town 3-1. Nicky Martin had given the hosts the half-time advantage and ,after Craig Hennis levelled, two late strikes from Bradley Hird earned City three crucial points.
Easington Colliery are one place and three points behind City.
They hit Thornaby for six as the goals flowed from Joe Kerridge, with a brace, Luke Page, Daniel Martin, Chris Pearson and Jack Pounder. Karl Charlton, James Rowe and Curtis Howes replied for Thornaby.
Stockton Town continue to lead the field in their first season in the league. They secured a critical derby victory at third-top Billingham Synthonia with an only goal from Thomas Coulthard.
Team Northumbria are second, three points off the top, with two games in hand on the Teessiders. Team North, though, were taken right to the wire by Heaton Stannington.
Aidan Haywood gave them the lead and, following Gary Yates’ equaliser, it wasn’t until the 92nd minute that Scott Gunn snatched the winning goal.