FIVE of the seven sides in contention for the championship played, but only Whitley Bay were successful, and are now just three points adrift of leaders Consett with two games in hand.
The FA Carlsberg Vase semi-finalists saw off Shildon with first-half strikes from Chris Moore and Craig McFarlane. Warren Byrne claimed a stoppage-time goal for the visitors.
Consett suffered defeat at Ryton, who took a two-goal lead through Liam McBryde and Jonathan Smart. David Pounder reduced the deficit and when Andrew Cuthbertson levelled eight minutes from time, it appeared the Steelmen might salvage a point. However, Stephen Shaw hit the winner for Ryton.
Dunston Federation were well beaten by relegation-threatened South Shields at Filtrona Park. The Fed, who had been unbeaten in 22 games, never got into their stride and the Mariners won thanks to Johnny Wightman (2) and Tony Coe.
West Allotment Celtic stay fifth but could only draw at Ashington, who led for 79 minutes before Andrew Carr claimed a late equaliser.
Sunderland Nissan also had to share the points with mid-table Billingham Synthonia, who were in front with a brace of goals from David Yale. Andrew Appleby was an early scorer for the Wearsiders, who claimed a point with Richard Hodgson’s late strike. Seaham Red Star remain bottom despite defeating nine-man Tow Law Town with an injury-time goal from Brian Linighan. The Lawyers had Anthony March and Chris Renshaw sent off by the 40th minute at which stage Stephen Winspear had cancelled out Stephen Tobin’s early goal for Tow Law. Bishop Auckland are equal on points with Seaham following victory at Billingham Town with strikes by Amar Purewal, Gavin Barton and Adam Strong. Danny Earl was the Teessiders’ only marksman.
West Auckland Town are third from the basement after Northallerton Town leap-frogged them, winning the crucial game with an only goal from Stephen Roberts.
Bedlington Terriers are now relatively safe after taking a point from Penrith, for whom Daniel Robinson scored on 50 minutes. Anthony Shandran restored parity 10 minutes from the end.
Robbie Draper scrambled in a last-ditch winner for Chester-le-Street at Morpeth Town, who led with an Alex Benjamin penalty before Liam Robertson equalised.
In Division Two, leaders Esh Winning and third-top Horden CW finished goalless and second-placed Norton and Stockton Ancients are now just a point behind Esh with four games in hand.
Hebburn Town failed to halt Norton’s challenge and after conceding goals to Michael Dunwell, Sonny Andrews and Gary Mitchell, managed only one in reply from Paul Trosy. Marske United remain fourth after winning at Whitehaven with goals from Craig Skelton (2) and Ben Thompson, but Crook Town lost ground at Whickham, who won thanks to Michael Pitt and Michael Hay. Darren Kokes had given Crook an early advantage. Sunderland RCA rekindled their promotion prospects, defeating Darlington RA as Scott Richards, Shaun Joseph, Mark Davidson and Halliday struck. Michael Cater and Nicholas Lyons replied for RA. Washington led through Barrie Smith and Jamie Elrington at Brandon United, who claimed a point with two late goals from Paul Dixon while Stephen Graham’s strike from a free-kick proved sufficient for Birtley Town at home to North Shields.
Goalkeeper Adam Dowell punched the ball into his own net to give Prudhoe Town the lead and there was only a minute remaining when Craig Tait equalised for Jarrow Roofing.
A Mark Staples own goal and Luke Bythway’s effort earned Guisborough Town the points at Team Northumbria.
l NEWCASTLE Benfield reached the semi-finals of the Northumberland FA Senior Cup when goals by Stephen Young (2), Michael Chilton and Adam Scope swept them to a 4-0 victory at Walker Central.