Durham City’s position in the relegation zone continues to give concern after they were again beaten on Saturday.
A few weeks ago, they were holding top six side Marske United to a draw when the game was abandoned because of snow.
Manager Chris Moore was hoping for a repeat performance when the teams met again at Consett, but, despite taking the Seasiders to the wire, the Citizens again ended without a point.
It wasn’t until first-half stoppage time that Reece Kelly beat City goalkeeper Tom Flynn for the opener. Jamie Owens added a second on 55 minutes, though City battled back and Harvey Saunders crashed a shot past goalkeeper Robert Dean to halve the deficit.
Moore’s men launched a grandstand finish and carved out three reasonable chances, but Dean came to Marske’s rescue each time to seal their 2-1 victory.
City are third bottom, only ahead of Bedlington Terriers on goal difference.
Terriers boosted their survival hopes with a 2-0 derby victory over Ashington, with Marc Walton and Jonathan Wright scoring.
Norton and Stockton Ancients remain rooted to the bottom but they’ll be heartened by their performance – if not the result – at second-top Guisborough Town.
Steve Snaith and Connor Smith appeared to have the points safely in the bag for the Priorymen, but, after Philip Caley halved Norton’s deficit, Guisborough had to withstand late pressure.
Norton were promoted along with Washington at the end of last season, but the fortunes of the two teams could not be more different.
Norton are floundering while the Mechanics are riding high, sitting fourth after seeing off Penrith 3-1 at Nissan.
Man-of-the-match Chris Winn bagged a brace and defender Greg Swansbury also struck, with Ben Jackson on target for the visitors, who were only able to name 11 players.
Seaham Red Star have also taken promotion in their stride, although it was a shock when their recent good run of form ended against lowly Newcastle Benfield.
Robbie Bird was an early marksman for Mark Collingwood’s Red Star, but, after Paul Brayson levelled, Dan Taylor grabbed Benfield’s winner a minute from time.
Sunderland RCA – like Seaham – are comfortably placed in mid-table following a 3-1 victory over Bishop Auckland, with the four goals at Meadow Park all coming in the first 16 minutes.
Jonny Wightman, Michael Charlton and Liam Hatch had the Wearsiders three goals to the good with only 11 minutes gone. Although Andrew Johnson reduced the deficit five minutes later, RCA were never troubled.
Shildon look as if they will take some stopping in the race for the championship.
West Allotment Celtic and neutral onlookers were full of praise for the flowing football which earned them five goals at Whitley Park.
Man-of-the-match Anthony Bell rifled a clinical hat-trick, with Billy Greulich-Smith and Lewis Dodds also on target.
Shildon have a 13-point lead over Guisborough, while Newton Aycliffe, who beat Dunston UTS 4-0 with strikes by Mattie Moffat (3) and Ashley Coffey, are third.
Washington remain fourth and Morpeth Town, 20 points off the top with nine games in hand, stay fifth, but whether they can turn matches into points remains to be seen now they are through to the FA Vase semi-finals.
Ian Chandler celebrated a first win since he returned to manage Whitley Bay when Chris McDonald and Adam Shanks struck in a vital 2-0 victory over Jarrow Roofing, who are now only a point and one place above Bay in the bottom five.
Morpeth Town reached the FA Vase semi-finals for the first time when they beat Bristol Manor Farm – winners over Sunderland RCA in a previous round – 2-0 with goals by Chris Swailes and Dale Pearson.
The Northumbrians travel to Southend on March 12 for the first leg against Essex Senior League side Bowers and Pitsea, who will be at Craik Park a week later.