Easington Colliery rescued a well-earned point with a stoppage-time equaliser against Second Division leaders Team Northumbria in Saturday’s match of the day.
The sides were well-matched throughout a cagey encounter between two of the promotion favourites in the sunshine.
The game sprang into life in the 82nd minute when the visitors’ Ben Dibb-Fuller had a penalty brilliantly saved by keeper Kyle Donaldson.
Three minutes later, though, Sam Reid scored from close range after a brilliant run down the left flank, beating Donaldson.
However, Colliery were not to be outdone and equalised in the 95th minute when Joe Kerridge poked the ball home after a goalmouth scramble for a deserved point to delight a healthy crowd– managing only the fourth goal against Team Northumbria all season.
Kyle Patton netted for Durham City, but they went down 2-1 to Northallerton at Consett,
Esh Winning, under new manager Tony Boakes and assistant Jacky Traynor for the first time, secured a welcome 2-1 win at Norton and Stockton Ancients, thanks to strikes from Scott Arnott and Joe Kerry.
Shane Todd fired Brandon United’s equaliser as they drew 1-1 at Crook Town, after trailing to Peter Brown’s strike, while Ryan Readman struck for Tow Law in their 2-1 reverse at Blyth Town.
Willington’s miserable run continued with a 3-0 defeat at Heaton Stannington.
In a dramatic finish in Division One, South Shields kept the pressure on North Shields with a 3-2 home victory over Ashington, scoring the winner in the last minute as Julio Arca played a neat ball through to Gavin Cogdon, who finished well.
Earlier, they had taken the lead after five minutes after a good save by Connor Grant, the ball falling to debutant Gavin Caines who scored from close range.
Seven minutes later, Ashington equalised with Kyle Downey’s 20-yard free-kick past keeper Liam Connell.
Lee McAndrew’s volley then had Ashington ahead, but Shields equalised in the 62nd minute, when Cogdon was brought down in the box by keeper Grant, and Arca easily scored from the spot to level.
Shildon moved into third place with games in hand on the top two, after defeating in-form Newton Aycliffe 3-2 in an entertaining game.
Shildon were brilliant in the first half and opened the scoring after just six minutes when Mickey Rae scored from close range, beating visiting keeper Lewis Brass.
The home side scored a second after 38 minutes, when a deep cross found Paul Connor, who scored with his first touch after coming on as a substitute.
Five minutes later, David Ferguson’s corner was headed in by Billy Greulich-Smith to make it 3-0 to the hosts, who were now rampant.
Against the run of play however, Dennis Knight reduced the deficit for Aycliffe when his free-kick found the net.
Aycliffe were right back in the match after 63 minutes, when Knight scored his second of the game from just inside the six-yard box.
Despite more pressure, Shildon held on for the win and, late on, Knight was sent off for his second bookable offence.
West Auckland jumped out of the bottom three, with a hard-earned 3-2 home win over visiting Consett.
Jack Elliot chipped keeper Chris Elliott from 15 yards and they doubled their lead when Dave Edwards finished well with a low shot into the bottom corner.
Consett reduced the deficit on 35 minutes, when Jordan Nellis’s shot took a deflection to wrongfoot keeper David Knight.
Shortly after half-time, West went 3-1 up with Adam Preston’s 20-yard. Consett rallied as Clark Kay’s cross wrongfooted keeper Knight and went in off the far post, but West held out for a vital win.