Northern Alliance Premier Division table-toppers Amble United continued their fine start to the season with a 1-0 victory over Stocksfield on Saturday.
Sean Taylor scored the game’s only goal with a neat finish towards the end of the first half.
The match-winner had earlier seen an effort ruled out after play was pulled back following a soft foul.
United could have added to their tally but were twice denied by the woodwork.
It was a well-deserved victory for Amble, who were rarely threatened by their mid-table opponents.
Taylor scored what proved to be the match winner after 38 minutes, rounding off a good team move with a precise dinked finish.
In the second half, Rikki Hume hit the bar with a powerful header on 54 minutes, before man-of-the-match Taylor saw his effort crash against the woodwork.
The league leaders felt they should have had a penalty when R Gair drove into the box and was brought down – only for the referee to pull the decision back five yards outside the area and instead give a free-kick.
Josh Hay went close to putting Amble two-up, only to see his chip go narrowly over.
Amble saw out the match (sponsored by K Noble-Eddy Carpentry and Joinery) to record their sixth league win of the season.
Things are tight at the top of the Premier Division and United are locked on 18 points with Heaton Stannington.
Heaton, who are behind Amble because of an inferior goal difference, kept up the pressure with a 3-0 win over Ashington Colliers.
Jonathon Wright, Mark Davison and Andrew Weeks scored for the high-flying Toon-based side.
Harraby United are breathing down the necks of Amble and Heaton. They have a game in hand over both sides and recorded a 2-0 win at Walker Central on Saturday.
Elsewhere in the Alliance’s top flight, Wallsend Town’s Paul McHutcheon crashed in a hat-trick to help his side to a 5-1 win over Shankhouse while Daniel Maguire struck twice in Seaton Delaval Amateurs’ 2-0 victory at basement side Gateshead Rutherford.
Percy Main drew with Hebburn Reyrolle 1-1 while the Blyth Town-Whitley Bay A encounter finished 0-0.
Northbank and Cramlington Town both slipped up but maintained the top two places.
Table-topping Northbank’s six-game winning streak was ended by Heddon, who took maximum points with a 2-1 win.
Form side Bedlington Terriers Reserves condemned Town to their first league defeat, beating them 5-3.
All four teams are locked at the top of Division One on 18 points.
Wallington came out on top in a seven-goal thriller against Red House Farm.
Jordan Nellis’s double helped the Greens to an important 4-3 win, with Josh Gilmartin and Mark Jewitt also on target. Patrick Collins, Jack Brogden and Nathan Winter scored for the Farm, who fell to their first league defeat of the season.
Ponteland United beat Newcastle Chemfica Independent 4-2 while Cullercoats smashed Willington Quay Saints 4-0.
There was also an emphatic victory for Gosforth Bohemians, beating Morpeth Town A 6-2.
Newcastle University drew 2-2 with Forest Hall while Hexham beat Redheugh 2-0.
Second-placed Wooler continued their fine start to the season with a 1-0 win at Wideopen and District thanks to a Tom Allan penalty.
It was the same score in Alnwick Town Reserves’ victory against Blyth Isabella, with in-form striker Stephen Hutchins scoring the game’s only goal.
Wallsend Boys Club were knocked off top-spot as improving Newcastle Benfield Reserves pulled off a surprise. The lowly side beat their high-flying hosts 3-2.
North Shields Athletic took advantage and jumped to the top of the tree, thanks to a late winner from Scott Jasper. His last-gasp effort saw his side record a 2-1 win over New Fordley.
Third-placed Birtley Saint Joseph’s kept the league leaders in sight with an emphatic 8-0 win over Cramlington United.
There were goals galore in the thrilling 5-5 draw between Swalwell and Longbenton while Seaton Burn inflicted more misery on bottom-of-the-table Grainger Park BC with a 6-1 win.
High Howdon SC drew 2-2 with Alston.