SUNDERLAND RCA moved into the top half of the STL Northern League First Division following a seven-goal thriller against Tow Law Town at the Ironworks Road ground.
Twice behind, the Wearsiders showed great character in securing a 4-3 victory which took their goals tally to 51. Only one of the 11 sides below them have scored more.
The Lawyers could hardly have made a better start as John Hewitson scored his sixth goal in as many games after only eight minutes.
James Oates restored parity on 22 minutes, only for Andy Thompson to give the hosts the lead for a second time.
Before the interval, Carl Beasley equalised and from then on, Neil Hixon’s side had the better of the exchanges.
Martin Smith and Joe Walton scored within the space of two minutes and RCA enjoyed a 4-2 lead for half an hour, until Thompson netted his second goal in the last minute.
Spennymoor Town won the match of the day, but they left it late against Consett at Belle Vue Park.
Newcomer Marc Walton was denied by Moor’s goalkeeper Craig Turns and at the other end, Adam Johnston’s effort was parried by goalkeeper Barry Poskett into the path of Michael Rae, who drove into the side netting.
Consett’s Jamie Poole and Kieron Megran both nearly scored before Consett broke the deadlock, as debutant Walton fired across Turns into the far corner.
Johnston was again close before Moors equalised, as Michael Laws glanced the ball home midway through the second period.
There were only a couple of minutes remaining as Gavin Cogden took advantage of a defensive mistake and his shot was deflected wide of Poskett to earn Spennymoor three crucial points.
They are now second, four points behind Shildon, with three games in hand.
Shildon were also taken to the wire by Jarrow Roofing, who were thrown a lifeline with Mark Grant’s 81st-minute goal.
Early in the game Shildon appeared to be coasting, when strikes by Lee Chapman and Jamie Harwood had them two goals ahead within half an hour.
But Roofing battled back to set up an exciting finale.
Top-six team West Auckland Town were twice ahead, with a brace by Mattie Moffat at Billingham Town, who claimed a point courtesy of Steve Flockett and Craig Norman.
Ryton remain rooted to the bottom of the table, staring relegation in the face.
They suffered a 29th defeat in 30 games as Stokesley romped home with goals from Anthony Hume (2), Brian Stewart and David Wells. Michael Lowden claimed a consolation for Ryton.
In Division Two, improving Birtley Town dented Guisborough Town’s promotion drive.
David Onions, who recently scored hat-tricks in three consecutive games, was quickly on the scoresheet, but before the interval Andrew McIntosh equalised for Birtley.
Nathan Hapurker then rocked the home side, giving Birtley the lead before Tom Portas equalised.
Chester-le-Street comfortably won at Crook Town, where Tony Healer scored the first goal and made the second for Ben Johnson before being sent off – all in the space of a few minutes.
There’s no change at the top of the table. Leaders Newton Aycliffe defeated Northallerton Town courtesy of Elliott Gardiner and Josh Knox.
Guisborough Town stay second and North Shields, whose fixture was postponed, are third.
Goals by Sam McIntosh and Tony Thirkell, who was later dismissed, earned fourth-top Whickham the points at home to Whitehaven and Team Northumbria consolidated fifth position.
They extended their winning sequence, making it 14 goals in three games when Lee Scott (2), Dan Riley and Gavin Donaghue (pen) netted against Hebburn Town.