PONTELAND United’s Northern Alliance premier division championship hopes were all but consigned to the scrap heap as they blew it at Gateshead Rutherford.
Although Dean Gate had shot a lethargic United ahead in the 35th minute, they switched off just two minutes after the break and paid a heavy price.
A throw-in put Rutherford in around the back and the ball was pulled back for Robbie Frame to tap in the equaliser.
Ponteland could not get going and never mounted a serious threat on the Rutherford goal as they a point that ensures them premier division football next term.
Alnwick Town are now holding all the aces in the final week’s action as they top the table by a point with a game in hand. A victory at Heaton Stannington last night (Wednesday) would give them their tenth title.
Alnwick went behind at home to Stocksfield as Phil Murray struck in the 21st minute, but levelled through Ben Keenan ten minutes later.
Although Albert Straughan’s side were reduced to ten men as Kev Elliot saw red, a David Davidson second half double put them in charge and Chis Moffat topped things off.
David Dormand is in line to lift the premier division golden boot, but the Shankhouse hit-man was left red-faced as he blazed one penalty over the bar and had another saved against lowly Murton.
Anth Moran and Chris Rue scored to put Shankhouse in control, and although Paul Wintripp pulled one back, Dormand fired in the third a couple of minutes from the end.
David Wallace powered in a header to give Harraby CC the lead at Cramlington Town, and Mark Boyd popped up unmarked to volley in a second.
Assistant manager Darren Noctor forced home a third at the near post and Mike Swift completed a comfortable victory when he tucked away a penalty.
Blyth Town bounced back from a nightmare run of three straight defeats with a 3-0 success at Carlisle City.
David Atkinson gave Town an early lead and second half strikes from Craig Hopwood and Chris Lisle sealed the win.
Ian Nicholls scored a late winner as Ashington Colliers came from behind to beat Heaton Stannington 2-1.
Paddy Yates had given Heaton a 40th minute lead that was cancelled out by Dylan Williamson in the 65th minute.
Hebburn Reyrolle’s march towards the premier division continued with a 7-1 thumping of Peterlee Town.
Ray Oshin hit four, Domonic Solman two and Kristian Wilkinson grabbed the other as Reyrolle moved towards their third trophy of the season, having already lifted the Combination Cup and Durham FA Trophy. Darren Major hit the consolation.
Second-placed Whitley Bay A were also firing on all cylinders with a 6-1 thrashing of Heddon. Ian Lee hit two with Mark Waite, Christopher Gillespie, Dean Porter and Gav Hattrick all joining in.
Amble United’s Josh Hay cracked in a hat-trick as they thumped Morpeth Sports 5-0. Sean Taylor netted the other two.
Gosforth Bohemians also hit five against relegation-threatened Stobswood Welfare.
Josh Gow (2), Stephen Wilkinson, Pete Hall and Matt Buckley got on the score sheet for Bohs with Adam Shanks grabbing a double in reply.
Adam Carr scored for Newcastle East End, but to no avail as they went down 3-1 at home to Newcastle Uni.
Division two champions Newcastle Chemfica Independent went down 2-1 at second-placed Wallsend Town.
Sean Reid and Dekka Graham were Town’s marksmen with Steve McLaughlin netting for the champs.
Stuart Rook banged in a hat-trick for Swalwell as they beat Tynemouth United 4-1.
Matthew Scott got the other and Steve Boyle hit the reply.
Goals in each half from Darren Dobson and Sean Henderson earned Hexham a 2-0 victory over Seaton Burn.
Steven Graham hit two of Simonside SC’s goal in their 4-1 success at Willington Quay Saints.
Sean Flood and Sean Edwards got the others, with Gareth Pew the Saints marksman.
Wallsend Boys Club hit the bar but could not turn their possession into goals as they were held to a goalless draw by bottom side Wideopen.
The Northern Football Alliance League are seeking to enlarge the present management committee.
Anyone who is interested in joining the committee should not have a direct connection with any club that is a member of the league and should contact league secretary Derek Booth on (0191) 258 0236 or 07758 666855.