Grindon Broadway were too strong for Seaham Marlborough but had to graft to clinch a semi-final place in the First Division’s Alan Spedding Cup.
Depleted Grindon made a lightning quick start, with David Taylor scoring in the second minute.
Richie Bland made it 2-0 after 20 minutes and they could have had the game wrapped up before half-time.
The hosts had a man sent off 10 minutes before the break, but Grindon shrugged off the setback to go 3-0 up when Taylor hit his second.
Marlborough threw everything at Grindon, but the defence reacted strongly until the pressure paid off with a 70th-minute strike by Jason Hendry, who capitalised on a slip-up by a Grindon defender.
Grindon lost another player due to an injury, forcing manager Peter Brown to play the final seven minutes.
The Wearsiders kept Seaham at bay until the last minute when Hendry crossed into the box, hoping for the best, and somehow it finished in the Grindon net, making it 3-2.
Grindon, though, saw out the win, though the scoreline flattered Marlborough.
Grindon now play Ferryhill Greyhound, 2-0 winners against Dormans, in the semi-final..
Elsewhere, Easington CIU exited 5-4 at Whitley Bay Seahorse and Coxhoe Red Lion lost 2-1 at South Shields.
Penshaw Catholic Club climbed to fourth place in the Premier Division, thanks to an excellent 4-2 victory at Hartlepool Touchdown.
Penshaw bagged a 15th-minute opener, surviving calls for offside, though Touchdown levelled. Penshaw regained the lead when a cross was headed in for an own goal, but again the hosts rallied. Penshaw, though, went 3-2 up before hitting a last-gasp clincher.
Relegation-threatened Red House WMC found leaders Marden too strong, going down 6-0. Ryhope Foresters pipped Cramlington Burton House 3-2 to stay within two points of Marden, albeit having played four games more.
Bottom club Heaton Stannington edged a vital 1-0 win over Darlington Shuttle and Loom, while third-bottom Wallsend Community remain deep in danger after a 3-1 loss to Tudhoe Black Horse.
Hylton CW moved seven points clear in Division One after a 2-1 win at Thornley Celtic, and they still have a game in hand.
Mid-table Dubmire lost 4-2 to Consett, whose win enhanced their survival push.
Mill View SC could have gone third in Division Two with a win, but they were out of luck in going down 2-1 away to second-top Wallsend Boys Club.
Wallsend were on top in the early stages against Mill View and, having hit the woodwork twice, finally opened the scoring.
But Mill responded really well and started to create their own chances. A pinpoint through ball by Gavin Kirk found Anthony Hodgson and he finished well to level it up at half-time
Wallsend got on top again in the second period without troubling Mill’s keeper. Then, with the game heading for a draw, the Tynesiders had one last attack and scored with a smart finish at the near post in the last minute.
Defeat was tough on Mill, who deserved a draw. Chris Duddin worked tirelessly in Mill’s midfield.
John Hogg Funerals should be safe from the threat of relegation after a fine 1-0 victory over Pelton Crown. They moved to 29 points in ninth place, only behind The Milbourne Arms on goal difference. Milbourne drew 0-0 with Darsley Park.
Bottom club The Philadelphia moved closer to the drop following a 2-0 defeat at sixth-bottom Peterlee Helford,
North Shields Pineapple, in second-bottom spot, put up a good show in a 3-2 loss to Hartlepool Catholic Club but remain five points point third-bottom South Shields Catholic, who lost 2-1 to leaders Blakelaw SC. Pineapple have three games in hand on Shields.
Fourth-top Durham Stonebridge thumped third-placed Cobblers Hall 5-1 to move within three points of their rivals, with three games in hand.
Mid-table Rolls-Royce put in a great effort only to succumb to a 6-4 defeat at home to high-flying Stanley in a Third Division thriller.
Washington JFC Biddick Inn sprang a big surprise, defeating table-topping Redcar Town 1-0.
Redcar, who have played three games more, are ahead of Newcastle East End on goal difference after the Tynesiders came from two goals down to draw 2-2 in an entertaining game at Hartlepool Stag & Monkey, thanks to a last-gasp penalty.
Houghton Cricket Club boosted their survival chances with a hard-earned 3-2 home win over Redcar Old Boys, leapfrogging the Teessiders into fifth-bottom spot as a result.
Oddies remained in second-bottom spot after a 3-1 reverse at Wingate Cons, keeping them four points behind third-bottom Hedworthfield Red Hackle, who were beaten 3-0 by third-top Richmond Town.
Wearmouth Old Boys continued their climb up the Fourth Division table after another good win.
They beat bottom club Oddfellows Arms 5-1 in a one-sided Sunderland derby to secure their eighth win of the campign, moving into ninth place in the process.
Ivy Legends, in fourth place, were sunk 5-1 by leaders Roseberry Grange, who are three points clear, with a game in hand on closest challengers Hartlepool Vets.
The Vets had to scrap hard to pip hosts Sedgefield 3-2, thanks to two goals in the final quarter, after twice falling behind.
Durham County lost 2-0 at third-placed Billingham Vets, who moved eight points ahead of Ivy Legends.