Sunderland West End’s hopes of clinching the championship receded considerably when they conceded an added-time winner in Saturday’s crucial game at Stockton Town.
Manager Anth Nelson wanted a win but would have gladly accepted a draw, and it appeared that the Wearsiders had done enough for a share of the points in a close-fought game.
But, in the 91st minute, a long clearance by Michael Arthur found Chris Stockton and he beat Neal Bussey to send the home bench into raptures with the only goal of the match.
West End remain third, now 12 points behind Stockton Town, who are only a point adrift of leaders Redcar Athletic.
The Seasiders came from behind to see off Spennymoor Town Reserves with a powerful second-half performance.
Matthew Pennall had Moors in front until the 56th minute, but, after James Swann equalised, Redcar romped to a 5-1 victory as further goals flowed from Andy Jennings (2), Michael Woodhouse and Lewis Wood.
Kenny Taylor, playing his first game in two years, scored twice in Ashbrooke Belford Houses’s exciting 4-3 victory over Boldon CA.
Brian Carter also celebrated, scoring on his debut and Nathan Burrell completed Belford’s scoring.
Boldon’s three goals were credited to Jack Lawton, Alex Kempster and David Conroy.
Silksworth CW hit Harton and Westoe for six on South Tyneside.
Stephen Bagshott and David Stephens (pen) had the Colliers comfortable, but, when Leon Powell halved the deficit, Harton sensed they were in with a chance.
But there was no stopping Silksworth after the break, although Harton’s cause wasn’t helped when they conceded another spot-kick which was again despatched by Stephens. Neil Jones, Adam Storey and Matthew Gray added to Silksworth’s delight.
Horden CW were surprisingly beaten 3-0 by lowly Prudhoe Town. It wasn’t until a minute before the interval that Sam Mannion drove past goalkeeper Ethan Anderson for the opening goal.
David Burns doubled the lead after an hour and the Colliers then faced a formidable challenge which they didn’t look like meeting.
With three minutes left, Derek Waters wrapped up a 3-0 victory for Prudhoe, only their sixth success in 27 attempts.
After conceding three goals in the opening half hour to Kevin Holliday (2) and Jack Hunter, bottom club Murton reduced the arrears with an Anthony Cowey penalty.
But they didn’t trouble Whitehaven again and the Cumbrians ended 6-1 winners, thanks to further strikes by Nick Holden, Aidan Vout (og) and Greg Quayle.
Third-bottom Seaham Red Star Reserves lost their bottom-of-the-table clash at Wolviston.
The turning point came after 27 minutes when Star striker David Paul was shown a red card. Nathan Bayes fired Wolviston into the lead on the hour mark and, just before the end, he was again on target. It was second-bottom Wolviston’s first win in seven months.
Jarrow went nap at Leam Rangers, who never got to grips with their opponents’ attack.
Grant Pressling set Jarrow on their way and, right on the break, Chris Allan doubled the lead. In the second half, Peter Kane bagged a brace and Pressling was on the mark for a second time.
Annfield Plain equalised with a superbly-directed free-kick by Scott Watson after Kalumn Holbrook had given Richmond Town the advantage.
But their hopes of upsetting the form book wilted as poor defending opened up the opportunity for Mark Sims, who struck again three minutes later. Just before the end, Scott Ryan tapped in to seal a 4-1 Richmond victory.
Cleator Moor Celtic leap-frogged Hartlepool into fourth place with a 2-0 win, thanks to Liam Johnston and Harvey Stainton.