Ryhope CW had to hit back for a point in a tough Second Division clash at Billingham Town, as leaders South Shields stretched their advantage.
Second-top Ryhope, with a game in hand on their rivals, were held to a 1-1 draw at Billingham Town, for whom Jamie Davis impressively finished off an early opener, capitalising on a defensive malaise.
Conor Winter levelled for Gary Pearson’s side three minutes before the interval, the powerful striker tapping in at the end of a well-worked goal after Josh Home-Jackson laid off a superb Matty Weirs cross.
In the end, Ryhope needed a couple of top-class Anthony Lowerson saves to preserve their point. They next host Tow Law tomorrow.
South Shields attracted a crowd of 903 to Mariners Park for their clash with fifth-top Chester-le-Street.
David Foley and Martyn Coleman did the damage in a 2-0 win and the Mariners are now eight points clear at the top.
Team Northumbria moved up to fourth, a point ahead of Chester-le-Street.
They conceded an early lead to Jack Devlin, but hosts Easington Colliery then shot themselves in the foot by conceding two penalties in four minutes, both of which were converted by Lewis Storey.
With only three minutes left, Joe Kerridge rescued a 2-2 draw for Paul Frame’s Colliers, who stay seventh.
Billingham Synthonia are making a determined bid to return to the top flight at the first attempt, but they had a scare at Whickham.
An only goal by Mattie Osmond, who delivered a superb left-foot volley into the net from 18 yards, proved sufficient for a Synners win, but only after the Tynesiders had mounted a stirring late rally.
Birtley Town won the basement battle at Esh Winning by the odd goal in three.
Andy Townsend and Adam Ingram fired them into a two-goal lead, but, after Kris Goss struck with a superb individual goal, Birtley had a fight on their hands before claiming the three crucial points.
They are now out of the re-election zone. The two places are occupied by Esh Winning and Stokesley SC, who look doomed to bottom spot.
Brandon United went down 3-2 at Tow Law, whose match winners were Dean Thexton, Liam Dixon and David Parker. David Rush and Kieran Duffy-Weekes replied.