Durham City put their off-the-field problems behind them to launch a spirited second-half fightback to secure a 2-2 First Division draw at Sunderland RCA on Saturday.
Martin Swales’ high-flying Meadow Park men dominated the first half and could have been ahead by more than the two goals they managed, with Michael Charlton and Stephen Callen on target.
Durham, though, responded magnificently to boss Ian Chandler’s half-time team talk and were transformed on the restart.
Richard Archer threw the Citizens a lifeline, heading home from the fifth of a series of corners at the start of the second period, then James Fairley converted a penalty, awarded after he had been brought down by RCA goalkeeper James Talbot, to level matters.
Both sides had chances to win it, with Talbot making an outstanding save, diving low to his left to keep out a fierce shot.
Seaham Red Star upset the form book by holding championship challengers Morpeth Town to a draw in Northumberland.
Right on the stroke of half-time, Star’s Daryl Donnelly was unfortunate in deflecting a cross from Luke Carr into his own net
Donnelly, though, quickly made amends by heading in Seaham’s equaliser and, after Sean Taylor restored Morpeth’s lead, Robbie Bird claimed a last-ditch leveller at 2-2.
After going unbeaten for 10 games, Washington lost two on the trot, but they bounced back by holding third-placed Guisborough Town to a 0-0 draw.
Mark Davison had an early effort cleared off the line for the Mechanics and when Guisborough threatened, Dan McWilliams’ header was blocked.
Visiting goalkeeper Nick Liversedge denied Davison and John Butler with a fantastic double save in the second half.
On a day when not one of the top four sides managed to win, Shildon stayed out in front despite losing 3-1 at Consett, whose marksmen were Danny Craggs and Michael Mackay (2). Ben Wood levelled at one point.
Morpeth are second, a point behind Shildon with two games in hand and Guisborough stay third, while North Shields remain fourth following a shock defeat tolowly West Allotment Celtic. James Luccock gave the Robins the lead, but, after Peter Kane levelled on 66 minutes, Shields had Jordan Summerly sent off.
The home side pushed forward searching for a winner but were caught out two minutes from time, with Ben Bradley earning Allotment three crucial points.