Stockton Town made it 20 straight Wearside League wins with victory over Coxhoe last night.
At the end of last season the Teessiders won 12 consecutive matches and were crowned champions. They’ve started where they left off to open up a five-point lead at the top of the table.
Stockton had the incentive of a 10th-minute goal as Stephen Roberts headed a cross from Scott Meehan wide of Gary Poole.
Coxhoe, the only side without a point, then held their own until Carl McCabe scored with a fine solo effort in the 55th minute.
The basement side didn’t capitulate, though, and it wasn’t until a minute from the end that Stockton made certain of the points with a third goal by James Ward.
Ryhope CW are second and have a game in hand on Stockton.
Their sixth win in seven games came at Jarrow where Chris Winn struck after only eight minutes.
Nathan O’Neil quickly doubled the lead and on 33 minutes Nathan Johnson struck with a clinical finish from 20 yards.
It looked as if Jarrow would hold their visitors during the second period but in the 89th minute Ryhope captain Philip Hall was also on target.
Gateshead Leam Rangers claimed only their second point in seven attempts when they shared six goals at Seaton Carew.
Two goals from Craig Hutchinson and Lee Jones (pen) gave Seaton a dream start before Anthony Brewis took advantage of a defensive slip to throw Leam a lifeline.
Three goals were scored in the opening 19 minutes and it wasn’t until the 82nd minute that David Wilson regained a two-goal cushion for the Seasiders.
At 3-1 it looked as if Leam were on their way to another defeat but in the 84th minute Anthony Hubbard reduced the deficit and in added time Leon Kane clinched a point with a close-range indirect free kick.
Annfield Plain scored three times away from home but still went down to Sunderland West End in an eight-goal thriller.
Barry Turton and John Coomber (2) had them three goals up before Grant Heslop cut the arrears. Turton netted again only for Heslop to strike at the other end. Keiran Martin then made it 5-2 before Adam Rowland hit a third goal for the Plain.
In the only Ebac Northern League game, Consett defeated Guisborough Town 5-2 with goals by Michael Mackay (2), Luke Sullivan, Ryan Bell and Aristote Guerin Lakonga. David Onions and Danny Johnson, with
Guisborough’s 2000th goal in the Northern League, replied.