Stockton Town outgunned promotion rivals Easington Colliery 5-1 yesterday to move three points clear in Division Two.
Max Craggs, with a 25-yard free kick, had Town ahead after just nine minutes, with Adam Nicholson bundling home a second, 10 minutes later.
Craggs fired another free-kick into the top corner of helpless keeper Kyle Donaldson’s net to make it 3-0 by half-time.
Ted Woodhouse scored from close range for Stockton’s fourth before Jack Pounder pulled one back, heading past Liam Jordan
Craggs, though, completed his hat-trick in injury time, slotting past Donaldson.
Durham City move up to fourth place with a hard-fought 1-0 win at Hebburn Town. Bradley Hird scored what proved to be the winning goal on 10 minutes, when his shot beat goalkeeper Steven Hubery.
Hebburn’s Adam Rundle had a 55th-minute effort disallowed for offside.
In another tight game, Tow Law won 1-0 at Willington.
The deadlock was broken on 75 minutes, when Dean Thexton fired home in off the post past Stephen Robinson, from close range.
The eagerly-awaited Billingham derby between Synthonia and Town ended in a 0-0 stalemate, in front of 637 fans, with the sides staying third and fourth respectively.
Blyth Town crushed Bedlington Terriers 5-0, thanks to Connor Andrews (2), Malcolm Morien,Liam Gilhespy and Zak Atkinson.
Heaton Stannington edged a 1-0 win over Alnwick Town, Gary Yates following up a rebound from a corner and headed home past Dominic McMahon.
* Spennymoor Town beat Frickley Athletic 2-0 to climb above Blyth Spartans into fourth place in the Evo-Stik League Premier Division.
While Blyth lost 2-1 at Whitby, Moors struck early and late, with Robert Ramshaw’s half-volley and a Joe Tait penalty sealing the points.