Willow Pond went down 5-3 at Wingate Cons in a Third Division thriller.
Willow were left with a mountain to climb after a poor start.
Wingate were soon three up as Michael Bradley tapped home Martin Burns’ cross, Neil Bestford scored and Bradley rounded keeper Andy Tilbury for his second goal.
David Metcalf robbed Ronald Bulmer in the six-yard box to make it 4-0 before David Laws and Gary Golightly linked well to set up James Briant for a superb 30-yarder into the top corner as Willow rallied.
Stuart Hope, from long range, and Andy Norman, with a header, went close before Golightly got Willow back to 4-2.
Bradley completed his hat-trick to rouse Wingate, though the visitors had the last word when Golightly hit a fine consolation from Norman’s cross.
The Philadelphia went down 5-3 at Hartlepool Stag & Monkey in a thriller, paying the price for the loss of two goals inside 10 minutes.
Phili levelled by the hour mark, helped by an own goal from Stag’s stand-in keeper. Brendan Deer, fittingly, got Stag back ahead, but battling Phili struck again and then blasted a penalty against the bar.
Two goals in the final three minutes finally floored Phili.
Houghton Cricket Club fought well to claim a 2-2 draw at Washington JFC Biddick Inn and Roseberry Grange won 2-1 at Redcar Old Boys to go five points clear at the top.
Washington Victoria Inn’s 14-game unbeaten Premier Division run finally came to an end when leaders Marden eased to a 5-0 away win
Fourth-top Victoria actually started the game as the brighter team, but Marden went in front against the run of play after 10 minutes when Lee Crosby headed in a free-kick.
The rest of the first half was end to end football but no more goals.
Marden, however, came out strongly in the second half and, helped by a few defensive mistakes, provided a masterclass of finishing.
Frank Deverdics poached his usual goal, star man Steve Hart scored twice, including a beautiful 25-yard chip, and sub Geoff Walker finishing the rout late on.
Andy Lumsden worked tirelessly for Victoria.
Penshaw Catholic Club dropped back to third place after a 3-1 defeat to Hartlepool Workies in the game of the day.
Workies, who went second with the victory, enjoyed an excellent first half and turned round 3-0 ahead, thanks to Set Kennedy’s double and a Mick Waller strike.
Penshaw grabbed a consolation goal through Chris Mooney, who also missed a penalty as the hosts pushed hard in the closing stages.
Penshaw will get the opportunity to avenge the defeat this weekend, in a rapid return match.
Redhouse WMC capitalised on two defensive errors to storm 2-0 up against Hartlepool Raby Arms, and never looked back on the way to a six-goal romp.
Easington CIU were beaten 4-1 at Darlington Shuttle & Loom, while Ryhope Foresters sit sixth after a 3-1 defeat of Spennymoor Town.
Wearmouth CW slipped to fourth-bottom spot after a 5-0 home loss to Heaton Stannington.
Dubmire Club and bottom club Peterlee Helford United served up a memorable 5-5 draw in the game of the day in Division Two.
Third-bottom Plains Farm Alldec picked up a 0-0 draw with high-flying Newcastle East End, while Mill View lost 2-1 to North Shields Pineapple.
In Division Four, Pennywell Comrades climbed to 10th place with a fine 3-0 win over Hartlepool Tech.
Pennywell Vets were sunk 5-1 at Hedworthfield Red Hackle and Boldon Colliery Tavern lost 3-0 at home to Shildon.
In a depleted Division One programme, Seaham Marlborough lost 3-1 to Pelton Crown Inn to stay fourth.
Grindon Broadway, whose game was postponed, dropped to third place as Dormans beat Wallsend BC 4-1.