Seaham Red Star climbed two places to 17th in Division One on Saturday, but they are not out of the woods yet in the fight for survival.
A 1-1 draw with Dunston UTS lifted them five points clear of third-bottom Jarrow Roofing, who, like Star, have three games to play.
But it could have been so much better for Craig Lynch’s men.
In an evenly contested duel, all the action came in a dramatic final few minutes.
Sub Thomas Scott gave Seaham the lead in fantastic style, with just four minutes left, when he brilliantly lifted a memorable 25-yarder over keeper Niall Harrison and into the net.
Incredibly, Dunston were level within a minute as a fired-up visiting side responded rapidly, with sub Liam Marrs heading home a left-wing cross at the back post.
But there was more drama deep in stoppage time, with Red Star awarded a penalty for a challenge on the edge of the box.
Sub Ash Davis, whose pace caused Dunston problems throughout the second half, stepped up calmly, but his well-hit effort was brilliantly saved by Harrison, the ball being diverted onto his right-hand post before agonisingly bouncing across goal to safety.
but agonisingly UTS equalised a minute later, when substitute Liam Marrs found the net. The home side were then given a last minute penalty, but goalkeeper Niall Harrison saved Ash Davis’s spot kick.
Seaham are at home to Wembley-bound Stockton Town tomorrow.
Ryhope CW completed a double against lowly Bishop Auckland with a second 3-1 victory, keeping alive hopes of a potential top-10 finish.
Bishops did take the lead through Michael Hoganson’s direct free -kick, which flew under the wall and into the bottom corner of Jonny Ball’s net.
But a Michael Rae brace turned the game around for Ryhope.
He smashed home an equaliser from 15 yards into the bottom corner of the Bishops’ net on 24 minutes and then finished neatly, in off the post, just before half-time.
James Ellis made the game safe at 3-1 when he scored from close range, in the 79th minute, following an inch-perfect ball from Matty Weirs.
Ryhope assistant manager Stuart Gooden said: “After a couple of poor performances in the past week, this was a great response from the lads.
“We got off to a poor start, with Bishops taking the lead, but we equalised and then went ahead and I knew then we would win the points. We thoroughly deserved the 3-1 win and we are absolutely delighted.”
Ryhope have two attractive home midweek matches, against West Auckland tonight and Shildon on Thursday.
Sunderland RCA comfortably beat Guisborough Town 3-0 at Meadow Park, boosting their bid to claim a top-four finish.
Dylan Elliott gave the hosts a sixth-minute breakthrough when he scored direct from a free-kick.
Michael Charlton made it 2-0 after 31 minutes, when he headed home a Stephen Callen cross from close range.
Brian Close was sent off for the Priorymen, five minutes into the second half, and RCA capitalised on their man advantage to wrap up victory with a third goal, scored by Jonny Davis in the 68th minute, shortly after getting off the bench.
RCA, a point behind fourth-top Shildon, have a busy week to end their campaign.
They host Bishop Auckland tonight and visit Newton Aycliffe on Wednesday before finishing up at home to Jarrow Roofing on Thursday night.
West Auckland, in third place, thrashed Whitley Bay 5-0 at home.
A brace from Mark Doninger was backed by Dan Parker, Amar Purewal and Anthony Bell in an emphatic win.
Jarrow Roofing remain deep in trouble, four points adrift of safety in third-bottom spot, with three games to go.
Richie McLoughlin’s men conceded twice late on to allow Team Northumbria to grab a 2-1 away success.
Roofing took a 40th-minute lead when John Campbell netted, but, with four minutes left, Andrei Ardelean headed home and, in the last minute, Ben Dibb-Fuller curled in a direct free-kick to leave the hosts shell-shocked.
Roofing have a crucial home game against Newcastle Benfield tonight.
Consett, fresh from lifting the Durham Challenge Cup, lost 1-0 away to Newton Aycliffe.
The Steelmen were caught sleeping as a left-wing cross found Craig Hutchinson. His 32nd-minute effort was well saved by Kyle Hayes, but the ex-Billingham Town man converted the rebound from close range.
Consett had strong claims for a penalty, for a challenge on Michael Mackay, waved away.
Shildon gave away a two goal lead, as they travelled to Newcastle Benfield and were beaten by 4-2. Dan Groves and Billy Greulich-Smith, both scored inside 10 minutes, but a late comeback from Newcastle ensured the victory, as they scored three goals in six minutes through Jake Orrell, Paul Brayson and Scott McCarthy, with McCarthy adding a fourth in the last minute.
Marske United kept up their title push with a 6-1 demolition of relegated Billingham Synthonia.
Synners took the lead when Ryan Braithwaite scored early on.
But the Seasiders went 3-1 up in the first half through Andrew Stephenson, Michael Roberts and Curtis Round. Danny Earl, James Fairley and Adam Wheatley completed the scoring.
Ashington comfortably outgunned North Shields 4-0 in their final match.
A hat-trick from Tony Stephenson was the highlight of the day, with goals coming in the 8th, 37th and 63rd minutes, with Damien Stevens adding the fourth.
Penrith dropped to fourth-bottom spot after a 2-0 loss to visitors Stockton Town, with both goals, a second-minute Max Craggs penalty and a deflected James Ward effort, coming early in the game.