Willow Pond just had the edge in a seven-goal thriller in their mid-table Third Division clash with Washington JFC Biddick Inn.
The hosts started the brighter, but they fell behind when Biddick broke down the left wing and Gary Fox latched onto the ball, holding off one defender to outpace him before skipping past another sliding tackle and beating the keeper with an unstoppable shot into the top left corner.
Willow Pond responded with a fine passing move which saw Gary Golightly break the offside trap to slot past the keeper to level.
Dean Cassidy made it 2-1 to the home side with a 20-yard shot following a throw-in, but the lead was shortlived as a Biddick corner was whipped in and the keeper and his defence failed to deal with it, allowing Jason Wood to score with a free header.
Just before the break, Cassidy’s corner was superbly met by Andy Norman, who ghosted in at the far post to give Willow a 3-2 advantage.
Biddick were reduced to 10 men in the second half as one player had to go to work and no subs were available, but that did not deter them and their pressing was rewarded with a penalty, calmly slotted home by Wood after Norman handled in the box.
Willow, though, denied the brave 10 men, with Ronald Bulmer’s 30-yard free-kick bouncing in the box and eluding everyone, including keeper Stephen Halliday, to snatch all three points at 4-3.
The Philadelphia slipped to fifth place after losing a crucial game 1-0 to long-time rivals Wallsend Winstons.
Defences held firm in an even start, but a defensive slip after 20 minutes let in David Mauchline, who stole the ball on the edge of the area and beat the home keeper with a well-placed shot.
The Philadelphia took the setback in their stride and continued playing attractive attacking football, but they could not make the most of a series of ahcnes.
Winstons absorbed the pressure throughout the second half, too, with Phili unable to find a way through as the Tyneside’s secured the win to move into third place.
Leaders Blue House led twice but had to settle for a point in a 2-2 draw against gallant Hartlepool Stag & Monkey.
Oddies crashed 3-0 at home to Boldon Colliery Tavern, who moved off the bottom with their win, while Rolls-Royce lost 3-1 to visitors Wingate Cons and Houghton Cricket were thumped 4-1 at Richmond Town.
Peterlee Helford boosted their Second Division survival chances with a shock win over leaders Seaham Marlborough.
Marlborough suffered only a fourth defeat of the season despite having all the possession and chances, and laying siege to their goal in the second half.
Peterlee took a 2-0 lead into half-time, scoring with both of their shots on goal, including a penalty.
Despite having the majority of play in the first half, Seaham did not really test the Peterlee keeper, but they stepped up a gear on the restart, with a series of great chances, before substitute Chapman eventually found the net in the 65th minute to give Seaham hope.
Peterlee’s goal was battered for the next 15 minutes, but they somehow managed to hold out, the keeper pulling off an outstanding save from a header to seal the deal.
Thornley Celtic are second, a point behind Seaham with five games in hand. Third-top Hylton CW drew 2-2 at Cobblers Hall, while Durham Stonebridge, in fourth, lost 4-2 at Hartlepool Catholic Club, where they paid the price for turning up a man short.
Stonebridge pulled two goals back in their best spell of the match, when they were 3-0 down.
Mill View SC progressed in the Second Division’s Ironside Cup, beting Gateshead Rutherford 1-0.
Oddfellows Arms enhanced their chances of avoiding bottom spot in Division Four when they drew 3-3 in a thriller with Billingham Vets.
They were behind three times to goals from Stewart Johnson, Rob Cooper and Aaron Flory, all set up by Mark Fisher, but the Wearsiders hit back each time to draw, the final leveller coming late on when a free-kick into the box eluded everyone and went in at the back post.
Fourth-bottom Colonel Prior were thumped 5-1 at leaders Newcastle East End, while bottom club Wearmouth Old Boys lost 5-2 at Shildon Grey Horse and Ivy Legends drew 0-0 in a close-fought encounter with Trimdon Vets.
Ryhope Foresters scored a notable 2-1 Premier Division win at home to third-top Cramlington Burton House, while Penshaw Catholic Club fought hard to deservedly secure a 0-0 draw at leaders Hartlepool Touchdown.
Keeper Andy Naisbett made two outstanding saves to keep his clean sheet in a well-matched game.
Steels Kings Bros exited the Premier Robson-Pattison Cup, losing 1-0 to Red House WMC.
Wearmouth CW moved five points clear in Division One thanks to a close-fought 2-1 home win over second-top Washington Sandpiper.
Easington CIU consolidated fourth place despie being held to a 1-1 draw by lowly The Milbourne Arms.