Chester-le-Street finally ended a goal drought that stretched back over nine hours, but they still lost 4-2 at home to Thornaby.

They took the lead through Andrew Galer after 4 minutes, but former Hartlepool striker Ian Clark levelled with a good shot on 55 minutes. Craig Skelton put Thornaby 2-1 up from the edge of the area, before Chester levelled through Michael Coghlan. Skelton scored the third from close range, and the turning point was when Thornaby keeper Chris Davidson saved a penalty from Coghlan, because Marcus Laing soon made it 4-2 at the other end.

Chester-le-Street manager Anth Smith said: “We weren’t bad in the first half, but Thornaby deserved their win.”

Thornaby manager Ray Morton said: “It was an excellent second half by us, and we scored some good goals.”

Leaders Team Northumbria are slowly edging away from the rest, and they won 3-1 at bottom club Horden. Midfielder Gavin Donoghue scored a hat trick for TN, all from free kicks, two of which came in the last seven minutes. Horden fought well, and after they levelled at one point through Stephen Oakley, there was a chance of an upset.

Team Northumbria director of coaching Paul Johnson said: “We deserved to get something out of the game, but I thought we produced one of our poorest performances of the season. Credit to Horden they worked hard to press us and stifle our play, and it took three great free kicks to secure the win. It was a good three points to push on, even if it was a bit scrappy.”

Horden manager Brian Honour said: “I thought we were very, very unlucky, because the players put in loads of effort.”

Whickham are six points behind the leaders thanks to a 3-1 home win over Crook Town. Lawrence McKenna put Whickham a goal up by half time, with Steven Aiston scoring twice in the second half. Richard Hodgson scored a late consolation for Crook.

West Allotment’s five game winning run came to an end when they lost 2-1 at home to Esh Winning. Dean Lee’s goal seemed to put Allotment in command, but then two goals in the space of three minutes near the end from Darren Kokes and Chris Smith gave Esh the points.

Top six sides Washington and Darlington RA drew 1-1. The RA took the lead with an early goal by John McKie, but Washington equalised with a penalty by Michael Latimer.

Washington manager Richie Latimer said: “I thought we were the better team for 75 minutes, played some good stuff and should have been three or four up by half time. All round it was much better from us, and we can build on that for the next game.”

Northallerton moved up two places by beating Ryton and Crawcrook 3-1. They took a 5th minute lead through Carl Chillingsworth, but Ryton levelled through Andrew Dobby just before half time. However, Peter Bulmer restored Northallerton’s lead from a free kick, then Gary Cook scored the third from long range.

Northallerton manager Mark Fanning said: “We’re ticking along nicely – that’s 13 points out of the last 15 we’ve picked up.”

Birtley are now unbeaten in five games after a 3-1 away win at managerless Alnwick. All the goals came in the second half, John Martin put Birtley ahead, and after Tom Vickers equalised, Stephen Telford and Peter Henderson scored twice for Birtley in the last ten minutes.

Birtley manager Scott Oliver said: “It was a leggy performance by us, but the players dug deep and now we’re five unbeaten.”

North Shields beat Seaham Red Star 3-1, with both sides having a man sent off. Dean Holmes gave a Shields the lead wit ha well hit shot, but Kevin Gordon scored a good solo goal. Shields then had Paul Watson red carded for dissent, but still took the lead through Holmes. Seaham then had Michael Turnbull dismissed for a foul, and John Grey added the third.

North Shields manager Anthony Woodhouse said: “It was an even first half when we led at half time, but in the second half we changed our shape and looked comfortable. We had a player sent off, but we scored on the counter to put us in control.”

Seaham manager Steve Cook said: “After an even first half, we conceded in the last minute, switching off after a dubious refereeing decision. We showed great character to get back level, but the dismissal of their player seemed to make us more nervous instead of giving is the impetus to go on and win. So I’m disappointed that we didn’t take control when the opportunity arose, and another lesson this young squad has to learn.”

Morpeth beat Brandon 3-1. Marc Walmsley and David Dormand put Morpeth 2-0 up before Phil Robinson pulled a goal back. Neil Johnstone though made sure for Morpeth.

The game between Gillford Park and Easington was postponed on Friday because Easington were unable to fulfil the fixture, and are now facing a fine and points deduction.