Third Division leaders Blue House were held to a 2-2 draw by promotion challengers The Philadelphia.
The excellent game was a credit to two in-form teams.
Phili got off to a great start, when, after five minutes, Alan Jones picked up a loose pass and, from about 30 yards, unleashed a shot which dipped and swerved on its way into the back of the net.
The lead did not last long, however, as The Philadelphia defence switched off and Tony Young, lurking on the edge of the area, hit a tremendous shot which flew into the net, giving the home keeper no chance.
Phili continued to dominate the half and the good work paid off when Andrew Bainbridge, just inside the area, fired a low shot through the visitors’ defence and into the bottom left-hand corner of the net.
The second half was equally interesting, with two good teams stretching each other. Blue House had the slight edge and Gary Shields duly equalised, squeezing home a shot from an acute angle, following a corner. Both teams pushed for a winner, but the draw was a fair result.
Willow Pond moved within two points of seventh-placed Oddies by beating their neighbours 3-1, while Washington JFC Biddick Inn drew 1-1 with Richmond Town. Boldon Colliery Tavern climbed off the foot of the table by beating Houghton Cricket 3-2.
Hedworthfield Red Hackle netted twice in the final few minutes to secure a flattering 3-0 win at Hartlepool Stag & Monkey.
Steels King Bros started the new year in style, boosting their Premier Division survival push with a hard-earned 3-2 derby win at Red House WMC.
Victory took Steels up to fourth-bottom spot.
Blyth Sea Horse belied their lowly position to beat Hebburn Town 2-0 to climb off the foot of the table, thanks to goals from Chris Black and Stephen Earl, both made by star man Neil Armour. Graham Abbott was Hebburn’s top man.
South Shields dropped to the bottom after losing a 4-3 thriller at Ryhope Foresters, who are up to fifth.
Penshaw Catholic Club blew an early 2-0 lead as they crashed 3-2 at Tudhoe Black Horse.
Stuart Archbold and Simon Holland netted in the first 15 minutes, but Tudhoe pulled one back with a penalty from Edgecombe. A good header levelled it up in the second half, then both sides had chances for a winner before the hosts snatched it in the last minute.
Leaders Hartlepool Touchdown stayed six points clear of Marden by beating Cramlington Burton House 2-0, thanks to strikes from Brian Linighan and Bob Smith.
Grindon Broadway’s First Division promotion ambitions suffered a setback when bottom club Coxhoe Red Lion forced a 1-1 draw.
Neither side had played for five weeks, and it sometimes showed. Grindon were the better team for the first 20 minutes, denied an opener by a brilliant save from keeper Gary O’Hara.
The first goal came on 20 minutes when Cliff raced down the right wing, beating all comers, and then centred for Griffiths to score with a brilliant header.
Grindon inexplicably relaxed and paid the price as Coxhoe came into the game and, five minutes from time, David Milburn equalised, despite the hosts claiming offside as he latched onto David Larson’s through pass.
Steven Whitehead shone for Grindon, with Ian McGraghan best for Lion.
Easington CIU kept up their promotion push, thumping North Ormesby Vets 4-1.
They got off to a cracking start, going in front after two minutes. Harry Garrighan fed Tommy Wilkinson on the left wing and he took on the defender and crossed for Lee Cotton to force the ball in from two yards.
Midway through the first half, Wilkinson picked up the ball on halfway and ran 30 yards before hitting a beauty into the top corner.
Tigger Lyons headed a third when the visiting keeper could only parry Wilkinson’s free-kick, then Cotton nodded in Graham Langthorne’s cross for 4-0.
Ormesby grabbed a consolation after the break but CIU were never in danger.
Lee Stockport was man of the match, with debutant Anthony Banks also impressing.
Consett pounced twice in the final 10 minutes to draw 2-2 at Hartlepool Gillen Arms, who had Nicky Lloyd and Simon Blackett on target.
Wearmouth Old Boys were outgunned 3-0 by visitors Hartlepool Tech in Division Four, thanks to Paul Gillies, Jason Fenwick (penalty) and Andy Park.
Wearmouth’s keeper saved a second spot-kick.
Pelton Newfield outgunned Hartlepool Vets 3-1, storming ahead with two unchallenged headers and never looking back.
Oddfellows Arms lost 2-0 at Stanley Ball Alley, and Colonel Prior succumbed 4-1 at Sheldon Grey Horse.
Billingham Vets saw off Hartlepool Greenside 3-0, with Daren Harrison, Mark Fisher and Nicolae Stanciu all netting fine goals.
Seaham, albeit having played three games more, moved level with Second Division leaders Thornley Celtic after handing out a 7-0 beating to Horden Sportsmans.
Celtic were held 1-1 at Mill View SC, while fourth-top Durham Stonebridge drew 1-1 at third-placed Blakelaw SC.
Dubmire progressed in the First Division’s Alan Spedding Cup, pipping Ferryhill Greyhound 5-4 on penalties after a 3-3 draw.