Washington boss James Clark hailed his side after a massively important 2-1 First Division derby triumph at Ryhope CW.
The Mechanics remain deep in trouble in second-bottom spot, but their first away win of the campaign must give them a huge confidence booster in the fight for survival.
After a tight start to the game at Recreation Park, the deadlock was broken when Andrew Mogwo fired Washington in front from a free-kick.
After the interval, the visitors doubled their lead on the hour mark, when Jak Hanson struck.
Although Ben Riding reduced the deficit, with eight minutes left, Washington held on for three crucial points, taking their tally to 11, while Gary Pearson’s side suffered a fourth successive home defeat in all competitions.
Mechanics manager Clark said: “The win feels good and the lads are very happy with the result.
“Three times we have lost narrowly to very good teams in recent games, even though we have played well in all three of them, so I am delighted that they have won.
“We are an emerging young team that needs a boost in confidence and they certainly earned that today.”
Sunderland RCA are eighth after a hard-fought 1-1 draw at Newcastle Benfield, but they were seconds away from picking up all three points.
RCA struck early, when James Cassidy fired in from close range at the second attempt.
Ten minutes into the second half, Nathan O’Neill had a great chance to double their lead, but goalkeeper Andrew Grainger saved his penalty kick.
Jordan Laidler was then sent off for Benfield, following his second yellow card, but it did not stop the 10 men scoring a last-gasp levelled, with Paul Brayson on target.
Seaham Red Star are ninth following a 1-1 draw, at home to Ashington.
Red Star started brightly and took the lead through Dylan McGlade, who rounded goalkeeper Conor Grant to net from an acute angle.
Ashington lost luckless Damien Stevens to injury five minutes later, but they rallied to rescue a point when his replacement, Tony Stephenson, converted a penalty past Jordan Harkess four minutes into the second half.
Consett impressed in a 3-0 defeat of Shildon as they rose to fifth place.
The Steelmen went ahead with an own goal from Marc Ellison, when he deflected a Dan Hawkins cross into his own net.
In the second half, Consett dominated and went further ahead following a 49th minute goal from Michael Sweet, when he belted the ball home.
A memorable win was complete when Sweet scored his second, after 77 minutes, pouncing on a rebound to score from close range.
West Auckland are up to sixth, following a narrow 1-0 home victory over Jarrow Roofing.
The controversial winning goal came on the hour mark, when Nathan Fisher fired past goalkeeper Shaun Newbrook, even though the referee had blown for a foul, but then played advantage. Roofing remain just two points above the relegation slots.
Bottom club Billingham Synthonia lost 3-0 at Newton Aycliffe.
Glen Lane’s goal, seconds before half-time, gave the home side the lead, with Craig Hutchinson firing a second-half double to secure all three points.
Stockton Town edged a 2-1 win over Team Northumbria to rise to 12th place.
Jamie Owens put the Teessiders ahead just before half-time. Ben Dibb-Fuller converted Josh Bynoe’s cross to level on 80 minutes, but Stockton won it when Max Craggs pounced to score on a rebound from Jamie Poole’s effort.
Dunston UTS lost 2-0 at home to improving Penrith, with Adam Main and Shaun Gardner both striking in the second half.
Guisborough Town are slowly climbing the table, following a 2-1 home win over Bishop Auckland. Steven Roberts’ double did the damage, with Ibby Hassan replying.
Second-top Marske United surprisingly lost 2-0 at home to Whitley Bay, who had Kyle Patton and Alex Kempster on target late on.
North Shields, in fourth, held leaders Morpeth Town to a 1-1 draw.
Liam Henderson put Morpeth ahead after 32 minutes, only for Ben Harmison to level, just before half-time.