SUNDERLAND RCA boss Neil Hixon got proof of his players’ characters when they came from two down to sweep Whitley Bay aside.
Despite looking the more lively side in the opening stages, RCA went behind on 32 minutes to the home side as Lee Paul Scroggins fired home a rebound.
Following good work by Phil Bell, Scroggins doubled his team’s lead early in the second half.
Lee Owens cut the deficit with a close-range effort before converting a penalty awarded for a handling offence.
It was Hixon’s men who came out on top when Brian Stewart unleashed a tremendous shot which stunned the crowd of 565.
West Auckland, the only side to have beaten RCA, also needed to come from behind before seeing off Bedlington Terriers.
Stephen Baptiste was an early scorer and after Mattie Moffat restored parity before the interval, Mark Stephenson earned West the points which keeps them second with a game in hand on RCA.
Dunston UTS and Newton Aycliffe shared the points in a goalless draw.
Norton and Stockton Ancients are fourth and they took advantage of Penrith having Willie Paul sent off in the 55th minute.
At this stage, the game was goalless, but Norton romped home with strikes from Nathan Mulligan, Alan Gray (og) and Matthew Garbutt.
Bottom-of-the-table Stokesley SC went down to Shildon, whose marksmen were Chris McCabe and Nicky Kane.
Tow Law are just above Stokesley. They doubled their points tally at Jarrow Roofing, where Mark Nixon scored the only goal.
In Division Two, Horden CW were unable to halt Team Northumbria’s promotion challenge.
Gavin Donaghue gave them the lead just before the interval, but following Stephen Oakley’s 58th-minute equaliser, the Colliers sensed they were in with a chance of causing a major upset.
Donaghue, though, came to Northumbria’s rescue as he completed a hat-trick.
Horden remain bottom and Chester-le- Street are just above them after suffering defeat at home to Thornaby Town, whose match-winners were Craig Skelton (2), Ian Clarke and Marcus Laing. Andrew Gale and Michael Coghlan netted for the Cestrians.
Seaham Red Star are just outside the relegation zone following defeat at North Shields, whose scorers were Dean Holmes (2) and John Grey. Kevin Gordon replied for Red Star.
Washington held Darlington RA to a draw and were within a few minutes of winning all three points. Player-manager Michael Latimer converted a 43rd-minute penalty before John McKie levelled.
Birtley Town maintained their move up the table with victory at Alnwick Town, where John Martin, Stephen Telford and Peter Henderson were the marsksmen. Tom Vickers netted for the Northumbrians.