SUNDERLAND RCA wilted under a powerful second-half performance from Spennymoor Town in the top-five clash at Meadow Park.
Moors went ahead with Gavin Barton’s 22nd-minute strike and when Gavin Cogden doubled the lead after an hour, the hosts faced an even more difficult challenge.
Adam Johnston quickly made it three and it was all over for the Wearsiders when Craig Ruddy took advantage of a defensive mix-up.
Although Lee Owens converted an 85th-minute penalty, RCA ended well beaten.
They stay fourth, a point in front of Spennymoor, who have two games in hand on the Wearsiders.
West Auckland are the new leaders following an easy victory at Billingham Synthonia, where they led through Alex Francis (pen), Adam Nichols and Danny Hindmarsh before Nathan Jameson struck a stoppage-time consolation for the hosts.
Bishop Auckland toppled Dunston UTS from pole position.
Two goals in eight first-half minutes from Daniel Hawkins and Darren Richardson had the Tynesiders on the back foot.
Anthony Hume threw them a lifeline on 76 minutes, but although they pressed relentlessly in the final stages, UTS were unable to produce an equaliser.
Third-placed Whitley Bay also went down, this time at Newton Aycliffe. Dale Jardine broke the deadlock on 71 minutes but Robbie Dale levelled for the Seahorses.
However, they conceded a late winner to Elliott Gardner.
South Shields scored three times away from home thanks to David Colvin (2) and Lee Bell, but still lost at Consett, whose matchwinners were Michael Mackay, Dale Burrell, Marc Walton and an own goal.
Jarrow Roofing also won by a 4-3 margin at Shildon.
Josh Allen, with a brace, David Malloy and Aristote Guerin Lakonga eased Roofing home. Danny Richmond, Wayne Gredziak and Chris Hughes netted for the South West Durham side.
Stokesley SC have conceded goals at an alarming rate. They leaked just one at Newcastle Benfield, but still lost thanks to Michael Chilton’s goal.
In Division Two, Birtley Town moved into third when they came from behind to beat Esh Winning.
Lee Newby and Craig Nichol had Esh comfortably ahead until Scott Oliver’s side scored three times in 13 second-half minutes through Daniel Smart (2) and Andrew McIntosh.
At the other end of the table, Horden CW remain bottom, but claimed a good point at Seaham Red Star, who extended their unbeaten run to five games.
Stephen Jackson conceded an own goal but the Colliers levelled through Jack Honour.
With only three minutes remaining it appeared Richard Goodman had won all three points for Seaham, but in added time Jackson atoned for his earlier mishap, driving in the equaliser.
Chester-le-Street stay third from bottom despite easily beating Easington Colliery with goals by Callum Patton (2) and Scott Swanson.
Washington’s poor form continued at Brandon United, who romped to victory thanks to Phil Robinson, Connor Winter and Mark Brischuk, with a brace.
Michael Rush was the Newtowner’s only scorer.
The three sides who led the table before kick-off were all beaten.
Team Northumbria went down to Darlington RA, whose matchwinners were Graeme Whitehead (2) and Nick Harrison. Liam Clough claimed a consolation for Team.
Whickham stay second despite being beaten by Morpeth Town, for whom Stephen Anderson (pen) and David Dormond netted before Graeme King replied.
North Shields, who had won eight and drawn four of their previous 12 games, found 13 an unlucky number as Gillford Park won thanks to Marc Shiel (2) and James Earl.
Mark Rasmussen and Paul Gordon scored for the Robins.