Leaders Newcastle Blue Star saw the gap at the top cut to just one point on Saturday afternoon after they suffered their first defeat of the season, losing 2-0 at home to North Shields Athletic, and the two sides beneath them, Newcastle University and Ponteland United, both won.
At Blue Star goals in each half, John Wyres on 27 minutes and Wyn Davies on 67 minutes, earned visiting Athletic their first win of the season whilst the Students, and the Pont, both collected victories on the road.
Nicky Langston afforded hosts Gateshead Rutherford the lead just before the half hour against a tough University side and they levelled through free-scoring Niza Chilufya on the stroke of half-time. It would be the Uni hitman who would put the visitors in front eight minutes into the second half and Langston levelling a few minutes later.
Hopes for the hosts were quickly dashed though when Keith Douglas gave last season’s champions the lead again just before the hour mark and Oily Walden chipped in with a late fourth to consign Rutherford to just their second defeat of the season.
Ponteland meanwhile had things a lot more comfortable when away to Percy Main Amateurs, Owen Lewis Thompson striking twice in a 5-0 win, other goals arriving through William Morris, Reece Havelock-Brown and Samuel White.
AFC Killingworth won their top six clash at home to Whitley Bay A as Malcolm Morien helped himself to five goals in their 7-3 win and, although they are six points off the pace at the top, already have two games in hand on the leaders.
Morien was joined on the scoresheet by Thomas Rock and Liam Hudson whilst the visitors replied through Chris Zolden, Paul Dunn and Ian Bramley.
A hat-trick from Sam Johnson featured as Seaton Delaval won 4-2 away to Gateshead A, Bruno Pialtos with the other, Jack Burns and Corey McKeown replying for the Heed Reserves whilst Michael Angus and John Paxton notched for Wallington who continued their change in fortunes with a 2-0 home win over Shankhouse.
Jonathyn Quinn scored a second successive penalty as he opened the scoring in Alnwick’s 3-1 win at FC United of Newcastle, who levelled ten minutes into the second half through Paul Collinson but goals from Daniel Donoghue and Scott Maddison gave the Northumberland side the points whilst Newcastle Chemfica and New Fordley shared the spoils in a 2-2 draw.
Darryl Basham and Steve McLaughlin scored for Chemfica but were cancelled out by Josh Hay and Jordan Watson as the hosts remained second bottom and New Fordley are mid-table.
Blyth Town maintained their 100% start to the season with a 3-0 home win over Wallsend Community courtesy of Jak Ditchburn’s brace, Christopher Laidlaw adding a third in stoppage time whilst second place Bedlington lost a seven-goal thriller away to Winlaton, Cullercoats, in third, edged past Blyth Spartans Reserves and Red Row went on a goal-spree at home to Newcastle East End.
At Winlaton goals from Kieran Barker, Connor Brierley, Derek Waters and Jack Moulding had the hosts four goals to the good just past the hour mark but taking their foot of the pedal nearly proved costly as Bedlington struck back with late efforts from Chris Conway, Tony Williamson and Karl Porter, time just getting the better of them whilst at Cullercoats a sole strike from James Hedley just before the half hour was enough to see off Spartans Reserves.
Red Row meanwhile, and Phillip Airey in particular, tore apart bottom club Newcastle East End, he scoring five times in a 13-1 demolition job, Kieron Bell adding four and Max Anderson three in the rout.
There was a nine-goal thriller at Gosforth as lowly Bohemians were edged 5-4 by visitors Hebburn U23s, they going three up through Graeme McCall and a David Stansfield double by the half hour before Kieron Boyle pulled one back shortly after. The game stayed at 3-1 to the visitors until twenty minutes into the second half when Jonathon McGreary increased the lead with Dan Ure, then Boyle with his second of the game putting the hosts in touching distance, however Daniel Maddison scored a fifth for the U23s with ten minutes to go and, although Josh Spurling added the ninth with two minutes left, it would stay that way.
Adam Greenwood scored twice as Prudhoe Youth Club defeated their visitors, Hexham, 5-1, other goals coming from Sam Dibb-Fuller, Arron Fletcher and Matty Bloomer, Will Forsyth with a consolation at half-time and Joe Thompson netted twice, and missed a penalty, as Forest Hall won 2-0 away to Seaton Burn.
A couple of sides were on Minor Cup duty as Felling Magpies progressed in the Durham version winning 4-2 against Blackhill & Ebchester whilst Blyth FC won 6-0 at Ellington Reserves and Wallsend Boys Club defeated Alnwick Reserves by the same score.
The clash of the day came in the Second Division as the top-of-the-table duo collided at Rotbury, a seven-goal thriller ensuing between them and Jesmond, both newcomers enjoying a great start to life in the Alliance.
It would be the visitors who would edge the game, 4-3, and take over leadership of the division, Andy Hall helping to a hat-trick in doing so, Daniel Whybrow with the other whilst Rothbury replied through a brace from Daniel Thompson and one for James Jackson.
Another Alliance newcomer, Ellington, had an enjoyable afternoon also as Adam Bains smashed a five-goal salvo in their 8-0 home win over Cramlington Town, other goals coming from Tom Haigh, Brent Aisbitt and Chris Dryburgh.
Willington Quay Saints won 3-0 at Seghill courtesy of efforts from Dylan Adamson, Brandon Williams and Joe Connor whilst the games between Whitburn and Redheugh, and Wideopen and Stobswood, finished in draws, 3-3 and 2-2 respectively, Joe Warren with a brace in the first.
Cup matches would see Coundon exit the Durham Minor away to Wheatley Hill whilst Burradon (4-3 against Cramlington United Reserves), Cramlington United (7-4 against Eden Blyth), and Spittal Rovers (4-0 against Newcastle Chemfica Amateurs), progress in the Northumberland Minor.
The game at Cramlington, which saw United win 7-4, featured a hat-trick from Andrew Carr and braces for Luke Taylor and Ryan Martin whilst Carl Haytor hit a memorable four-goal salvo in reply for the visitors.
Thank you to Peter Mann for the round-up this week. To contact Peter, please visit his website.