SUNDERLAND RCA’s STL Northern League championship challenge is firmly back on track after they enjoyed a second-half romp against Norton and Stockton Ancients at Meadow Park.
James Magowan gave the visitors an early lead as he curled a shot into the top corner of the net and only an excellent save by Neil Atkinson prevented Theo Furness from doubling the advantage.
RCA, though, were a different side in the second period.
Alex Benjamin levelled on 54 minutes and soon afterwards, Neil Hixon’s side were ahead courtesy of Stephen Jones.
Man-of-the-match Benjamin struck twice in as many minutes to complete his hat-trick.
West Auckland lead the table following victory at basement side Stokesley SC.
Mattie Moffat with a brace and Michael Rae netted and Stokesley have now leaked 103 goals in 22 games which have yielded just a single point.
Dunston UTS remain second, just a point off the top.
They were taken to the wire by improving South Shields, who held out until the 81st minute, when Chris Swailes scored the only goal.
Spennymoor Town are third, but they were hard-pressed by sixth-placed Newton Aycliffe before clinching victory with a Sonny Andrews penalty.
After giving one of their worst performances for a long time last week, Whitley Bay bounced back to form and fourth place with victory at Bishop Auckland.
Lee Kerr (2) and Lee Paul Scroggins struck, with Andy Johnson on target for Bishops.
Ashington made it 13 goals in two games when they hit Penrith for six.
Phillip Bell scored twice to take his tally from two games to seven, Andrew Johnson rifled a hat-trick and Gareth Rees joined in the scoring. Willie Paul claimed a consolation for the Cumbrians.
Two goals from Stephen Richardson earned Bedlington Terriers the points at Jarrow Roofing, while Consett slumped to a heavy defeat at home to Marske United, who took advantage of poor defending and scored through Carl Charlton (2), Benn Thompson and Barry Poskett (og).
Tow Law Town remain second-bottom, but will be encouraged by a winning performance against Billingham Synthonia, who led with a Chay Liddle penalty before Mark Nixon netted twice.
Newcastle Benfield were ahead twice courtesy of Michael Chilton and Ross Peareth, but had to settle for a point at Shildon, who replied through Chris Hughes and Kenneth Boyle (og).
The two East Durham sides remain at the foot of Division Two.
Easington Colliery suffered a seven-goal humiliation at Crook Town, whose marksmen were Kevin Devine (2), Richard Hodgson, Brian Fairhurst, Kyle Davis, Robbie Bird and Graeme Liddle.
Chris Tarn replied for the Colliers.
Horden CW were without a fixture and are second from the basement.
Chester-le-Street are fourth from bottom, though they will be pleased at taking a point from third-placed North Shields.
The Robins led for an hour through Andy Hay, but it was no more than the Cestrians deserved as Scott Swanson headed an equaliser 10 minutes from time.
Seaham Red Star lost by the odd goal in three to promotion challengers Darlington RA.
Two goals in three minutes from James Eddison and Nick Harrison put Red Star on the back foot, but when Jonathan Monaghan reduced the deficit, RA had to hang on.
After conceding three goals to Sean Reid (2) and Paul Kane in 33 minutes and having Andrew Grant-Soulsby sent off, Birtley Town only just failed at West Allotment Celtic.
Craig Marron reduced the three-goal deficit from the penalty spot and Matthew Hornsby put Birtley back into the game, but Celtic held on.
Team Northumbria defeated Brandon United with goals from Jack Palmer and Dean Critchlow and have a six-point lead at the top over Esh Winning, who extended their good form at home to Whitehaven.
Adam Johnson, Craig Mickle and Craig Coates were the matchwinners.