ONLY Whitley Bay, of the five sides in contention for the championship, won at the weekend but they are still considered to be outsiders.
Following two consecutive defeats, the Seahorses were taken to the wire by relegation-threatened Tow Law Town who conceded the only goal in the sixth minute to Chris Fawcett.
Bedlington Terriers and Dunston UTS met for the second time in less than a week and again shared the points.
Only two goals were scored in the initial fixture and on Saturday neither side managed to break the deadlock.
UTS stay fifth-top, a point behind Spennymoor Town who also drew with leaders West Auckland Town.
Adam Johnston slotted the ball past West goalkeeper Mark Bell before Mattie Moffat produced a good finish on the hour mark.
In the last minute, Moor’s Lewis Dodds was shown a straight red card. At the other end of the table, Stokesley SC are just about doomed. They crashed to their 29th defeat in 31 games at Ashington, whose marksmen in a one-sided game were Marc Walton (2) and Andrew Johnson.
Tow Law Town are also engaged in a battle against the drop and so too are Jarrow Roofing, although their hopes have been raised with two wins in the last three matches.
South Shields looked on course to take all three points in the South Tyneside derby when they led with strikes from Jordan Fraser and David Colvin.
Roofing battled back and claimed a vital win thanks to goals from Calvin McMahon (pen), Paul Robinson and Kris Hughes.
Penrith are just outside the drop zone after losing at Guisborough Town, whose revival continues.
Jamie Poole scored both goals with Scott Allison claiming a late strike for the Cumbrians. Billingham Town improved their First Division survival chances with victory at Shildon who led courtesy of Josh Home Jackson, the former Durham City player.
With only five minutes remaining, Jamie Owens levelled and in added time he was again on target for the vital winning goal.
A ninth-minute goal by Leon Scott proved sufficient for Norton and Stockton Ancients against Newcastle Benfield.
In Division Two only a catastrophic collapse will prevent Team Northumbria’s promotion.
They are 14 points ahead of second-top Gillford Park and 17 in front of Hebburn Town, who are just outside the promotion places.
A brace from Peter Watling eased them to victory over Alnwick Town who last week parted company with manager Danny Olson.
Gillford Park, with games in hand on all the challenging sides, enhanced their prospects at Ryton and Crawcrook Albion for whom Ross Atkinson struck – but only after Mark Butler, Anthony Graham and Wayne Hoolickin had scored for the Cumbrians.
Third-top Darlington RA and North Shields, who are now down to seventh, shared the points.
It appeared Scott Blandford’s 81st-minute header would be sufficient for the Robins, but in the last minute Freddie Huscroft fired past goalkeeper Michael Robinson for the equaliser.
Fourth-top Hebburn Town were stretched all the way at Seaham Red Star before winning with an Alex Benjamin goal while Birtley Town are up to fifth – their highest placing so far – after they twice came from behind to defeat Morpeth Town.
Jordan Fry and Ashley McAlpine were the visitors’ marksmen with Danny Smart, Michael Hall (og), Kevin Dixon and Reece Darwin all on the mark for Birtley.
In an extremely tight race for the three promotion places, West Allotment Celtic are also in the frame.
They maintained their challenge at Horden CW who were first to score through Stephen Ferguson.
Three goals in the last 15 minutes from Dean Reid, Sean Reed (pen) and Chris Hutchinson proved pivotal.
BILLINGHAM Synthonia went out of the FA Carlsberg Vase in the fifth-round replay at Bournemouth.
Robert Bettson gave them a 20th-minute lead and Danny Earl had a penalty saved early in the second period.
Bournemouth took advantage and, following an equaliser from Max Cream on 70 minutes, clinched a home tie against West Auckland Town in the quarter-finals with Fawzi Saadi’s 83rd-minute winner.