Durham City are staring into the abyss following what could be a fatal six-goal thumping at Guisborough Town on Saturday.
With only three games to play, they trail West Allotment Celtic by seven points and next up they again meet Guisborough at Consett tomorrow night.
Chris Moore’s men can hardly be looking forward to the rematch, as another defeat will send them down. They complete the season with visits to North Shields and Whitley Bay and must take seven points out of nine to secure top-flight status.
Surprisingly, all six Guisborough goals were scored in the first half, but as early as the 22nd minute City were out of the game, with Johnny Helm, Connor Smith (2) and Danny Earl all on target.
Smith and Earl took their side’s total to six by half-time. Although City improved in the second period, the hosts continued to dominate and could well have added further goals.
Washington have two games to play and could yet make it into the top six.
They saw off relegated Bedlington Terriers at Nissan, but it wasn’t until the second period that Steve Hutchinson’s side made a breakthrough.
Terriers defended stoically but were eventually penetrated just before the hour mark, with Mark Davison heading past Ryan Beal.
Anthony Callaghan doubled the lead with a superb individual effort. He made a blistering run down the flank, cut inside, beat two defenders and then slotted the ball wide of Beal.
Davison cemented a 3-0 victory, delivering a crisp shot into the corner of the net 10 minutes from time.
Morpeth Town, three weeks away from their FA Vase final at Wembley, were impressive 4-1 winners at Dunston UTS.
Shaun Bell, Luke Carr and Ben Sayer hurried them into a three-goal lead inside 16 minutes. Steven Richardson reduced the deficit, but Lee McAndrew’s second-half strike sealed victory.
Consett want a top-six finish and they enhanced their prospects by defeating Newton Aycliffe 4-2.
Nathan Steel (2) and Luke Sullivan (2) did the damage, with Stuart Banks and Dennis Knight replying.
West Auckland and Newcastle Benfield, both safe after being threatened with the drop, drew 1-1. Paul Brayson converted a 16th-minute penalty for Benfield, but Adam Burnicle soon equalised.
Shildon, who last won the championship in 1937, are on course for a league and cup double after defeating North Shields on penalties in the Cameron Brewery Brooks Mileson Memorial League Cup semi-final.
Anthony Bell and Mark Doninger were their marksmen in a 2-2 draw, with Curtis Coppen and Jack Devlin replying.
The game went to a penalty shoot-out and the hero was Shildon goalkeeper Lewis Graham.
In normal time, he saved a Ben Richardson spot-kick and excelled again by denying captain Kevin Hughes and Gary Ormston. Ben Wood then stepped up to convert the decisive, winning penalty.
Shildon will meet Marske United in the final. Reece Kelly, Jamie Owens and Adam Preston sank Whitley Bay 3-1, with Adam Shanks (penalty) replying.