THE elements played havoc with the programme and only three games were played in each division.
Ashington’s fixture at Woodhorn Lane with Bishop Auckland was given an early thumbs up and after a closely- contested 90 minutes, it was Bishops who emerged victors by the only goal.
There were chances for both teams in the opening half with Ashington’s Andrew Johnson seeing a goalbound shot deflected to safety.
His namesake in the Bishop’s line-up fired against the woodwork and in the second half, Glen Taylor rattled the visitors’ crossbar.
With time running out a goal-less draw looked the likely result but a minute from the end Dion Raitt headed in the winner from six yards.
Despite playing against 10 men for the last 25 minutes, Newcastle Benfield went down to Hebburn Town. The South Tynesiders made a dream start, scoring after just a couple of minutes when Danny Kirkup pounced from close-range.
Benfield suffered another blow ten minutes before the interval when David Coulson was taken to hospital with a knee injury, but within a couple of minutes they were on level terms.
Nicky Deverdics delivered a free-kick from halfway and Gary Ormston flicked a header over the head of Hebburn goalkeeper Dan Regan.
Hebburn defender Jeff Forsyth was shown a second yellow but despite a numerical disadvantage, the visitors went on to score another two goals.
A poor pass in defence was picked up by Kirkup who squared the ball to Paul Gardner who drove low into the net giving Benfield goalkeeper Jake Cunningham no chance.
Just before the end, Hebburn made certain of all three points. From a counter-attack following a corner, Aaron Croft burst into the penalty area and his low shot into the far corner of the net again left Cunningham helpless.
South Shields remain bottom after going down to Shildon at Filtrona Park. The visitors went ahead after only 11 minutes when Ben Wood crossed to unmarked Jamie Owens who had the simple task of heading past Mariners’ keeper Tom Courtney.
Shildon goalkeeper Keith Finch saved well from Barrie Smith and Peter Kane headed wide of the visitors’ goal before Shildon doubled their lead on 54 minutes.
Robbie Briggs’ clinical free-kick from outside the penalty area beat both the wall and Courtney.
Near the end, Gilberto Chapim and Jonny Wightman went close but Shildon held on and victory moved them into seventh position, with games on hand on all the sides above them.
Ryhope CW consolidated pole position in Division Two with a comfortable victory over Esh Winning. John Butler’s 25th-minute goal was all that separated the sides at the halfway stage before two goals in a minute early in the second period ended any hopes Esh harboured of fighting their way back into the game.
Michael Charlton drove in on 55 minutes and almost immediately James Cook made it three with a header. Just before the final whistle Stephen Moody added a fourth goal.
Ryhope remain five points clear with Crook Town now second. Before the start of the season, the Millfield side were being touted as potential champions and following a slow start, they are now into top gear.
Richard Hodgson was an early marksman against Washington at the Nissan Sports complex and just past the hour mark, Chris Wallace scored with a superb solo effort.
He beat three defenders before giving Washington goalkeeper Chris Bannon no chance with an excellent finish. Soon afterwards, Craig Hughes latched onto a through ball and lobbed Bannon for his team’s third goal. Crook are five points adrift of Ryhope CW with a game in hand.
In their previous game, bottom-of-the-table Alnwick Town scored four times but they conceded four goals on their visit to Whitehaven, who maintained their strong challenge for promotion.
Craig Robson headed in on 17 minutes before two goals immediately before the interval left Alnwick with a mountain to climb.
Kevin Connolly produced a good finish and Robson rounded goalkeeper Brian Brooks before notching the third goal.
Brian Murray headed in a free-kick to raise the hopes of Alnwick but just before the end, Connolly bagged his second goal of the afternoon.