Willington rose to a season’s high of seventh place in Division Two thanks to Saturday’s 2-0 Hall Lane success against Easington Colliery.
It was a first match in joint control of Easington for Kevin Devine, who has teamed up with fellow joint manager Craig Hughes, with Craig Veart reverting to assistant boss.
After a quiet start, Willington made the breakthrough midway through the first half, intercepting a Jack Pounder pass and capitalising as Nathan Plews set up Matty Moffat, who rounded keeper Kyle Donaldson to score.
Pounder headed just wide as Easington rallied, then he had another effort saved by Lewis Graham, who denied David Vincent early in the second half.
Kieran Mitchell and Lewis Green also had chances, but the Colliers were killed off late on, as Michael Brown swept home a second goal in a quick break.
Chester-le-Street succumbed to a 3-1 defeat at Billingham Town.
But Colin Wake’s men began well and led with Callum Greaves‘ strike after half an hour.
Town fought back strongly in the second half, quickly levelling through Brandon Kirkbride’s 49th-minute effort.
Ash Lavan fired them ahead late on and Elliott Beddow made it 3-1 deep into injury time.
Durham City lost 4-2 at Heaton Stannington, who climbed to sixth place.
Jon Wright fired Heaton ahead, only for Kieran McWaters to quickly equalise.
Wright was on hand to regain the lead after 23 minutes and then completed his hat-trick just after half-time, to make it 3-1.
Craig Hennis pulled one back on the hour, but Wright scored his fourth with 13 minutes to go.
Tow Law Town were well beaten by 3-1 at home to Hebburn Town, who are fourth, three points outside the promotion places.
Daniel Robinson, Gary Shaw and Callum Smith put Hebburn in a commanding lead, with Lewis Teasdale pulling one back in vain for the Lawyers, who have dropped to eighth place.
Brandon United won a big survival battle against bottom club Alnwick Town, moving up to third-bottom spot thanks to a 1-0 victory, courtesy of Craig Rudd’s 30th-minute strike.
Crook Town also picked up three valuable points, following a 3-2 home victory over West Allotment Celtic.
Crook went behind to Ryan McGorrigan’s strike, but Ryan Coles equalised after 55 minutes and then Adam Lee-Shield put them ahead.
Dean Walker’s penalty made it 2-2. However, with six minutes left, Dan Quine fired Crook’s welcome winner.
Esh Winning won 3-1 at Jarrow thanks to an excellent hat-trick from man of the match Daniel Kent, after Steve Graham had given the Perth Green men the lead.
Darlington RA lost their crucial relegation clash 5-3 at home to Bedlington Terriers.
Ronnie Jones and Zak Atkinson gave the Terriers an early 2-0 lead. James Connor and a Chris Tarn penalty brought RA level, but Josh Miller and Jack Foalie restored the visitors’ two-goal advantage.
Although Dominic Joynes made it 4-3, Miller’s second goal ensured a precious victory for Bedlington.
Northallerton Town lost the big game at the top, when they were beaten 3-2 by visitors Whickham, who moved into pole position.
A first-half Chad Collins brace gave Whickham the advantage and, as the players went off at half-time, both Kallum Broadhead (Whickham) and Shaun Hudson (Northallerton) were red-carded, following an ugly incident.
In the second half, Chris Dickinson missed a penalty for the hosts, but then scored soon after that to make it 2-1.
Andrew Bulford finished well to restore Whickham’s two-goal lead. Although Aaron Ramsbottom pulled another goal back, the visitors held firm to secure the three points.
Blyth are second, with games in hand, after an impressive 2-1 win at in-form Thornaby.
Michael Chilton gave Blyth a 22nd minute lead, only for Charlie Graham to level, with just 12 minutes left. However, David Robinson scored an 83rd-minute Blyth winner.
There is a busy programme of seven Second Division games tonight, including Willington’s visit to Blyth, Chester-le-Street at home to Darlington RA, Tow Law’s trip to Jarrow and Brandon’s game at Ryton & Crawcrook Albion.