Fired-up Houghton Cricket Club turned on the style with a magnificent seven against Willow Pond in Division Three.
A stunning 7-2 success was only Houghton’s fourth league win, lifting them two places to 11th.
Houghton took the game to Willow and were soon ahead. Star man Michael Forster jinked his way through the defence to hit a low shot past John Davis, back in goal after injury.
David Kelly’s possession in attack allowed Willow to settle, and they levelled when Dean Cassidy curled a corner straight in.
But Houghton quickly regained the lead, attacking down the left and setting up Martin Cowell, who beat two players to rifle home from the edge of the area.
The loss of centre-half Andy Norman to injury was compounded after they lost possession and gave Darran Cartner the space to shoot from 30 yards into the top corner of the net.
Willow keeper Davis turned his ankle and had to be substituted, but the hosts rallied and keeper Michael Carman denied Kit Tipling in a one on one.
Willow got back to 3-2 when Ronald Bulmer floated an exquisite ball into the box and Brian Adamson powered home.
Houghton’s attacking play was relentless and Clive Greenwood curled home a free-kick for a 4-2 lead.
Houghton needed Carman to make a fingertip save to deny Kelly, but the crucial seventh goal went to the visitors, as Cartner ran on goal and struck under Matt Gartland’s dive to make it 5-2.
Houghton defender John Collins added a sixth after Adamson lost possession, then a counter-attack carved up the hosts, finished off by the unchallenged Nigel Dowd.
Washington JFC Biddick Inn drew 2-2 with Woodhorn Lane, while bottom club Oddies were thumped 6-1 by Richmond Town and Durham County Strollers drew 2-2 at home to leaders Newcastle East End.
Stanley maintained their promotion push, edging Hartlepool Stag & Monkey 3-2.
Fourth Division leaders Roseberry Grange suffered only their second defeat, 3-0 to third-top Billingham Vets.
Ivy Legends, in second spot, capitalised to move within a point of pole position with their 4-1 triumph at Boldon Colliery Tavern.
Colonel Prior drew 2-2 with bottom club Trimdon Vets in a bottom-three battle, while Wearmouth Old Boys were impressive 2-0 victors at mid-table Hartlepool Jackson Arms to climb to third-bottom spot. It was only Wearmouth’s second win of the season.
Oddfellows Arms failed to field a full team for their home match against Hartlepool Vets and were well and truly punished with a 10-2 loss. Dave Bellwood scored a first-half hat-trick and ended up with four goals, while Graham McKenzie also bagged a treble.
Durham County lost 3-0 at home to Heighington Bay Horse.
Ryhope Foresters dropped to second place in the Premier Division after a 4-1 defeat at Hartlepool Touchdown, who leapfrogged their visitors in the process.
Lee Crosby’s penalty gave Touchdown the lead, and he drove home the second from the edge of the box. Ryhope were dominant for 20 minutes in the second half, deservedly pulling one back after a corner caused chaos.
But they were caught on the break as Atkinson made it 3-1, then Smith latched onto a back pass for the killer fourth goal.
Red House WMC won well, 3-1 at Washington Victoria Inn, to climb to sixth place, while Wearmouth CW stayed fourth thanks to their 2-2 draw with Tudhoe Black Horse.
Seaham Marlborough moved fifth in Division One with a hard-fought 3-2 victory over bottom club Coxhoe Red Lion.
John Hogg Funerals sprang a surprise in the Second Division’s Ironside Cup, beating Mill View SC 3-1.
Mill were dealt a blow before kick-off when their goalkeeper was hurt in the warm-up and had to hurriedly rearrange the team.
John Hogg started the better and deservedly took the lead when Mill defence failed to deal with a long ball into the box.
Mill View changed the system at half-time and came out a much better side, and the pressure told when Chris Duddin equalised 10 minutes from time.
Both sides went for it in extra time, but Mill were hindered when they went down to 10 men through injuries. John Hogg capitalised and scored two in the last five minutes to win 3-1.
Peterlee Helford won through with a 4-2 derby win over Horden Sportsmans, while Pelton Crown pipped Milbourne Arms 5-4.
Grindon Broadway cruised through in the First Division’s Alan Spedding Cup, demolishing hosts St Mary’s College.
It took 20 minutes for the game to come to life, but Darren Cliff finally made the breakthrough on the half hour. Three minutes later, Carl Ridley doubled the lead.
Saints could not cope with the pressure and Bland made it 3-0 early in the second half, before three goals in eight minutes, courtesy of Taylor, Bland and Griffiths, finished off the hosts.
Easington CIU progressed, beating Consett 4-1.
Scott Burns scored with a 20-yard free-kick and made it 2-0 after good work from Anthony Banks, who was a constant thorn in Consett’s side.
The goal of the game saw a lovely move involving Graeme Langthorne, star man Banks and Burns finished off by Lee Jackson.
Consett pulled one back, but Jackson made it 4-1, following up after Burns shot was parried.
Hylton CW lost 3-1 at Dormans and Dubmire were beaten 3-0 at South Shields, while Ferryhill Greyhound edged out Hartlepool Gillen Arms 4-3 on penalties after a 2-2 draw. Ferryhill levelled twice in normal time.