Third-top Ryhope CW were the biggest scorers of the day in Division Two as they thumped Alnwick Town 7-1 to take their tally to 91 goals – the highest in either division.
Experienced defender Leon Ryan headed the opener, with Conor Winter making it 2-0 in a good move, set up by Kyle Davis.
A goalmouth melee saw the ball fall for Nathan O’Neill to slam home to extend the lead before half-time.
Davis made it four in spectacular style, volleying home a tremendous David Gordon cross, but Alnwick rallied with a magnificent goal of their own, with James Jackson beating keeper Chris Rookes.
Matty Weirs got Ryhope rolling again, finishing off a fine ball from Oliver Hotchkiss, then Weirs turned provider, crossing for Winter to nod home.
Davis capped his excellent performance with a deserved second to keep Gary Pearson’s men motoring on in the promotion race. They are back in action tomorrow night, with Easington Colliery the visitors.
There was no change at the top, with the three leading teams all winning, although fourth-placed Chester-le-Street conceded two points in a 1-1 draw at Tow Law.
Scott Heslop gave the Cestrians a second-minute lead, but the Lawyers soon equalised as Adam Knowles’ shot took a deflection past goalkeeper Joe Clayton.
Table-toppers South Shields’ anticipated big win over second-bottom Esh Winning just didn’t materialise, in front of a crowd of 1,016.
They went two goals up thanks to Martyn Coleman and Julio Arca (penalty) but were then surprisingly pegged back as Daniel Mann struck twice.
The Mariners, though, finished strongly and Warren Byrne’s brace, sealing a 4-2 victory, added another three points to their total.
Billingham Synthonia remain second, six points behind Shields, who have two games in hand.
An only goal in the 88th minute by Max Craggs earned Synners victory at lowly Willington.
Team Northumbria, 4-0 winners at Darlington RA, where Lewis Storey, Luke Hannatt, Kane White and Robbie Spence were the scorers, are also in the promotion mix.
After going 2-1 up on 85 minutes thanks to Jack Devlin, Easington Colliery conceded a costly 88th-minute equaliser to Ryton and Crawcrook Albion’s Bradley Vagar.
A boring game eventually sprang to life in the 76th minute as Luke Page broke the deadlock and four minutes later Sam Moore fired in Ryton’s first equaliser.
Third-bottom Birtley Town were hit for six at Thornaby, where the goals flowed from Gary Mitchell (2), Theo Furness (2), Rocky Andrews and Richard Walker.
There were also plenty of goals at Crook Town, but they were all credited to Brandon United. James Ellis hit a hat-trick in a 4-0 win, with Andrew Clarkson also on target.