Darlington RA extended their lead at the top of the table to six points although Stokesley SC, who were on cup duty, have a game in hand on their rivals.

Manager Dave Woodcock anticipated a difficult match at Ryhope CW who are fifth from top.

And when Stephen Rochester cancelled out Andrew Singlewood's first half goal with just 12 minutes remaining, Woodcock's fears looked well-founded.

RA though hit back scoring twice in as many minutes to end 3-1 winners. It was Singlewood who raised the hopes of the visitors when he struck on the half hour but throughout there was little between the sides and a draw looked on the cards with Rochester's equalising penalty on 78 minutes.

Within four minutes, however, RA were ahead again as Nigel Bolton celebrated his return to the side and two minutes later Singlewood scored his second goal.

Ferryhill Athletic are back at the bottom of the table and have become the first side to concede 100 goals after leaking six at in-form Birtley Town.

The result was just about settled by the 17th minute by which time Birtley led with a brace of goals from Neil Blue. Tony Thirkell made it three just before the break and went on to complete a hat-trick as Birtley scored another three times during the second period. Stephen Ireland was their other marksman.

Gateshead Reserves are the only side yet to win but the point they took at Wolviston was sufficient to lift them off the basement.

The home side went ahead after 52 minutes following a good move involving Gareth Richardson and Matthew Martin, Craig Luke was clear and he sent keeper Richard Swann the wrong way.

Within ten minutes Gateshead restored parity as indecision in the home rearguard opened up an opportunity for substitute Nat Van del Den and he hammered the ball into the roof of the net.

Washington Nissan UK are third from bottom and they too drew 1-1. They led for a long period through Graeme Bell at Harton and Westoe who levelled courtesy of Jonathan Mullen who lobbed the goalkeeper with 16 minutes remaining.

Stokesley SC strolled into the semi finals of the Monkwearmouth Charity Cup defeating Shotton Comrades 6-1. After conceding an early goal, Shotton hit back through Michael Pittam but thereafter it was all Stokesley whose scorers were Richard Mills (2), James Middleditch (2), James Alsop and Harrison Davies.

New Marske also made it into the last four but they had to fight until the last minute of extra time for a 4-3 win at Cleadon SC.

Danny Efford and Kyle Pendergood had Cleadon two goals up but a brace from Ian Johnson took the tie into extra time.

Billy Middleton and Andy Taylor edged New Marske into a 4-2 lead but there was still time for Stephen Vanes to set up a frenetic finale.