Easington Colliery impressed to end their dismal run of form in Division Two with a 2-0 away success against Durham City at Consett on Saturday.
Jack Pounder went close for Easington before finally making the breakthrough on the stroke of half-time, hitting a fine striker into the top corner of keeper Dean Caris’s net.
David “Busta” Paul doubled the lead midway through the second half, clipping home an Aidan Goodey cross.
The Colliers could have had more goals, with Pounder having one effort cleared off the line, while recent signing Michael Bulmer saw an effort come back off the bar.
Easington keeper Ethan Anderson saw out a clean sheet on his return to the side.
City stayed fifth but look to be out of the promotion race with only eight games to go, having played two more than third-top Billingham Synthonia.
Synthonia were resolute again in winning 1-0 at Bedlington Terriers, the crucial goal coming from on-form Macauley Langstaff after 44 minutes.
The shock of the day was free-scoring Billingham Town’s 1-0 defeat at home to lowly Ryton & Crawcrook Albion.
Callum Turnbull scored the vital goal, following a quick free-kick, after 26 minutes.
Fourth-placed Town now trail Synthonia by six points, though they have two games in hand and a superior goal difference.
Ryton’s win lifted them three points above the bottom of the table, now occupied by Darlington RA, who lost 2-0 to promotion-chasing Stockton Town. Sonni Coleman and an own goal sealed their fate.
Esh Winning moved a point above RA after twice coming from behind to draw 2-2 at home to Hebburn Town.
Callum Smith fired Town ahead, but Chris Mordue rounded the keeper to equalise. Prolific marksman Channon North restored Hebburn’s lead, but Max Stoker levelled it up again.
Fourth-bottom Crook Town bolstered their survival chances with an excellent 3-2 win at Whickham.
Jamie Tunstall headed Crook in front after just six minutes, but two goals in eight minutes saw Whickham go 2-1 ahead, through Steven Aiston and Mark Fitzpatrick.
Crook, though, equalised after 71 minutes, when Matthew Stephenson slid in at the far post.
The winner came seven minutes later, when Christian Holliday fired home after a neat turn.
Brandon United moved back above Willington into seventh-bottom spot, thanks to a 1-0 win at Hall Lane.
Lewis Martin lobbed the only goal in the 33rd minute, taking Brandon above their hosts on goal difference.
Tow Law went down 3-2 at home to Heaton Stannington after been ahead twice.
Adam Nichols early Lawyers goal was cancelled out by John Wright, but Matty Moffat had them back in front. But Dan Robinson and Dean Imray, with a controversial strike as Lawyers felt keeper Michael Allen was fouled, gave the Tynesiders all three points.
It’s tight at the top, with leaders Team Northumbria beating Blyth Town 2-1, courtesy of Joel Bradley and Aidan Heywood, to stay three points above Stockton Town, who have a game in hand.