Seaham Red Star, who staged one of only four games to be played in the entire Ebac Northern League on Saturday, took First Division championship hopefuls Guisborough Town to the wire, before losing by the odd goal in five.
After conceding an early lead and battling back with a second-half equaliser, Mark Collingwood’s side then leaked two goals in as many minutes.
At 3-1 and with only 13 minutes remaining, defeat was staring Star in the face, but they mounted a grandstand finish and came within a whisker of claiming a point.
Guisborough strikers Danny Earl and Stephen Snaith caused the home defence problems all afternoon and it was Earl who set up Peter Bulmer for the opening goal on 18 minutes.
Earl dragged the ball back as a defender committed and he had all the time in the world to feed Bulmer, who was left with an easy tap in past goalkeeper Shaun Newbrook.
Red Star hit back and, after Paul Gardner had gone close, they levelled early in the second half as David Palmer scored his third goal in two games, heading wide of goalkeeper Nick Liversedge.
The home side were much stronger in the second period, but they were undone when Guisborough’s danger men, Earl and Snaith, both beat Newbrook in quick succession.
Far from being downhearted though, Star went on the attack and, when Palmer scored his second goal of the afternoon, an exciting and often tense finish ensured.
Just before the end, Palmer came close to completing a hat-trick in a goalmouth scramble, but the visitors survived to seal a 3-2 victory.
They are now third, five points behind new leaders Shildon and three adrift of Morpeth Town.
Shildon moved back into pole position with a comfortable 4-0 win over lowly neighbours West Auckland, whose hopes of a giant-killing act evaporated when they conceded three times in 18 first half minutes.
Man-of-the-match Anthony Bell was left unmarked to score at the far post on nine minutes and he then set up Ben Wood, who doubled Shildon’s lead.
There was no respite for West and it was all over for them as Bell converted a penalty, awarded after he had been brought down.
Bell then took his personal tally to three in the 68th minute and, although Shildon had Daniel “Bobby” Moore sent off two minutes later for fouling Adam Burnicle, Shildon coasted home and to the top of the table.
In Division Two, Team Northumbria remain hot-on-the-heels of leaders South Shields, Ryhope CW and Chester-le-Street.
Their reward for being able to stage their game with second-bottom Esh Winning was a 1-0 victory, the only goal coming in the 65th minute when Sammy Perez struck.
He collected a pass just inside his own half, progressed past defenders and, from the edge of the box, beat goalkeeper Elliott Hogg for a fine individual goal.
Esh belied their lowly position and were always dangerous on the counter-attack, but home goalkeeper Steve Mundy kept them at bay.
Resurgent Northallerton are fifth, while Billingham Synthonia remain sixth following a 1-1 draw at home to Heaton Stannington.
Sam Garvie gave Synners a 13th-minute lead and, as the game drifted into added time, a crucial win was on the cards – but, with the last kick, the Stann equalised, with Matthew Hayton on target following a corner.
Sixteen of the 20 fixtures were washed out and the prospects for the early midweek games are not good.
North Shields are due at Runcorn Town tonight for an FA Carlsberg Vase third round replay and tomorrow four third round ties are scheduled.
Seaham Red Star are due at Dunston UTS, South Shields host Morpeth Town, while Marske United entertain Team Northumbria and Newton Aycliffe have home advantage over Atherton Collieries.
The four home venues were all waterlogged on Saturday.
Also tomorrow, Washington meet newly-installed First Division leaders Shildon at Nissan in the Durham Challenge Cup, while Bishop Auckland visit West Auckland.
Chester-le-Street are at home to Ryton and Crawcrook Albion in a Division Two fixture and, in the First Division, Jarrow Roofing are pencilled in to play Whitley Bay at Hillheads.