Sunderland West End completed a league double with another thrilling win against Leam Rangers.
Having beaten the Gateshead side 4-2 in January, West End showed great character to come from two goals behind in Saturday’s rematch to edge home by the odd goal in nine.
Leam stormed into a 2-0 lead at Ford Quarry courtesy of Nathan Daley’s brace, but West End regrouped and went 4-2 up in a barnstorming response.
Dean McCallum cut the deficit to one goal as Leam responded, but West End added a crucial fifth goal to tie up the points before Joe Hunter made it 5-4 in the last minute.
Man of the match Lee Smith fired a double to inspire West End, backed by strikes from Jordon Cook, Mark Catcheside and Brad Forster.
West End are back in action at Cleator Moor Celtic before focusing on next Monday’s Monkwearmouth Charity Cup final against Redcar Athletic on home turf at Ford Quarry (1pm kick-off).
Silksworth CW retained fourth place with victory in their penultimate match of the season.
Andy Stobbart’s side impressed in a 4-0 triumph away to Coxhoe Athletic, who slipped to eighth place following the defeat.
Stephen Moody and James Cook both scored twice for the clinical visitors, with Cook’s haul including a direct free-kick.
Silksworth remain just a point above Boldon CA, who have a game in hand.
The Wearsiders finish off at Prudhoe Town this coming Saturday, while Boldon have home games against Wolviston (Wednesday) and Ashbrooke Belford House (May 6).
Boldon CA stayed fifth after a narrow 1-0 away win at Windscale.
The winner came in the 24th minute, when Adam Bell latched onto a short back pass, rounded the Cumbrians’ keeper and slotted the ball home.
On-form Cleator Moor Celtic, in sixth but with several games in hand, look the likeliest side to finish fourth.
They maintained their annual late-season surge with a 6-0 trouncing of Annfield Plain at Derwent Park, with Luke Close (2), John Malone, Lee Dunn, Callum Birdsall and Jay Weatherall all netting.
Ashbrooke Belford House were hammered 8-1 at second-top Redcar Athletic, who look sure to be runners-up in the final standings.
A hat-trick from prolific marksman Andrew Jennings and further goals from Adam Preston, Anthony Jones, Sam Webster (2) and Joe Bennett, completed the scoring. David Scott replied for lowly Ashbrooke.
Richmond Town, in third place, were beaten 2-0 at home by Prudhoe Town in a surprise.
Liam Richardson and Jack Barker bagged the vital goals to defeat the new Total Sport Alan Hood Charity Cup winners.
Prudhoe’s win took them up to 12th place.
Hartlepool moved into seventh position, when they beat South Shields Reserves 1-0 at Grayfields.
The winning goal came just eight minutes from time, when Matty Gardner scored from a rebound, following up his original shot.