Birtley Town breathed a sigh of relief when they clinched a winner against Ryhope CW.
In their previous game Birtley had suffered a 6-0 mauling, only their second defeat in nine outings, but this was a much better performance.
Even so the game was heading for a stalemate when Tony Thirkell celebrated his debut by scoring the winner with four minutes remaining.
Although Birtley, in fourth position, trail new leaders Darlington RA by 13 points, they have two games in hand.
RA moved to the top of the table when playing their first game under floodlights at Cleadon SC. The game was advanced to the Friday night and RA's biggest crowd in years saw them edge a 1-0 result with a goal by Warren Burne, the former Shildon player.
RA were reduced to 10 men on the hour with the dismissal of Nigel Bolton but, although Cleadon went close on a number of occasions, they were unable to find an equaliser.
Boldon CA went nap against Washington Nissan UK. After establishing a two-goal interval lead through David Hopper and Craig Rolfe, they ended 5-2 in front when Hopper added a second and Michael Meek bagged a brace. Martin Patterson and Richard Bland replied for Nissan.
Annfield Plain were also in …