RYAN Johnson enjoyed a day to savour, hitting five goals to lead Chester Garden Farm to a resounding Fourth Division victory.
On a day when all but two matches were postponed because of the bad weather, Johnson stole the show to keep Garden Farm on course for an instant promotion in their first season in the league.
Victory took them above long-time leaders Houghton, but only into second place as promotion rivals Durham County also won.
Lowly Witton Gilbert Travellers Rest were the victims in a 7-2 defeat, although the scoreline was tight at 2-2 with an hour gone.
Johnson made the breakthrough in the 27th minute, with Garden Farm finally capitalising on their dominance.
Travellers levelled just before the interval, with David Calcutt on target, but Farm restarted strongly and regained their advantage with a second Johnson strike in the 50th minute.
A stunning free-kick from sub Darren Nicholson hauled Travellers back to 2-2, but it was virtually one-way traffic from that point on.
Johnson completed his hat-trick, then added two more for a quintuple, then Tommy Wray got in on the act with a late brace.
Dan Johnson stood out for Farm, Andrew McEleavey for Travellers Rest.
In the only other game to get the go-ahead, Durham County overcame visitors Chester-le-Street AFC 3-1 to move into top spot.
Joe Kerry’s double capped a man-of-the-match performance, with Stanley Ogunsuyi also on target.
Gilesgate Moor Queen Head (Division One) and Bowburn Athletic (Division Four) have resigned from the league.