Ryhope CW climbed further clear of trouble in Division One with a brilliant, third successive victory.
Gary Pearson’s men have been in great nick since crashing out of the FA Vase, and they soundly beat Marske United 4-2 on Saturday.
They are now 10 points above the relegation trapdoor, having needed just two minutes to take the lead, when the pacy James Ellis fired past United goalkeeper Robert Dean.
Influential midfielder Chris Trewick doubled the lead with a header on the half hour, as Ryhope looked to make amends for a 7-3 beating at Marske earlier in the season.
The Teessiders rallied with a 43rd-minute Aaron Ramsbottom shot past goalkeeper Jonny Ball.
But Ryhope stayed strong, held their nerve and went 3-1 up, when summer signing Ellis beat four defenders and found the net on 62 minutes.
United pulled another goal back five minutes from time, when Danny Earl poked the ball home, following a goalmouth scramble.
But Ryhope were not to be denied and ,in the 90th minute, Ellis claimed a memorable hat-trick after lobbing goalkeeper Dean to make it 4-2.
Ryhope, with 11 goals in the last three matches, will look to make it four wins in a row when they host Bishop Auckland in an attractive clash tomorrow night.
Seaham Red Star were hammered 6-0 at ruthless leaders North Shields.
Goals from Lee Mason and Dean Holmes fired the Robins into an early 2-0 lead and then Dan Wilson scored with a superb strike form a tight angle.
An own goal added to Star’s woes before the break, and there was no let-up as Holmes pounced on an error by Richard Goodman and fed Wilson to score his second with ease, three minutes into the second half.
In the 76th minute, Holmes scored again after rounding helpless keeper Shaun Newbrook.
West Auckland are now eight points clear of the drop zone, after a 2-1 win against Sunderland RCA.
But it was the Meadow Park men who took the lead after just six minutes, when Colin Larkin scored from the penalty spot.
West got their equaliser on 20 minutes, when Adam Burnicle’s shot was saved by goalkeeper Jonathon Carmichael, but Mark Hudson pounced and knocked home the rebound from 12 yards.
Eight minutes later, RCA were reduced to 10 men when John Butler was shown a red card for violent conduct. The incident resulted in a penalty for the home side, but Burnicle smashed it against the bar.
Burnicle then had a shot saved by Carmichael after 35 minutes, but Phil Caley managed to slot home the rebound, for what proved to be the winner, from eight yards out.
Consett moved up to sixth place after a creditable 1-1 draw at Ashington.
Consett took the lead from the penalty spot in the 27th minute, Luke Sullivan converting after Jonathan Tiffoney handled the ball in the box.
Ashington were more positive in the second half and they were rewarded in the 75th minute, when substitute Andrew Bulford played the ball through and goalkeeper Gareth Young made a costly mistake, allowing Tiffoney to score the equaliser from close range.
South Shields beat Dunston UTS 3-1 to keep in touch with leaders North Shields.
A Julio Arca corner on eight minutes was headed home by Carl Finnigan, beating goalkeeper Stefan Holden.
However, Dunston held firm and equalised five minutes after the interval, when Harvey Saunders finished well, beating keeper Liam Connell.
South Shields regained the lead with 13 minutes to go, when a cross by Danny Carson was headed in by Jon Shaw. The former Gateshead striker repeated the act five minutes later, this time from a Wayne Phillips cross, to make it 3-1, delighting the majority of a crowd of 844.