IT is advantage Alnwick as Ponteland United went down 3-1 at Harraby CC in the Northern Alliance premier division.
The title race is hotting up and town now only trail United by one point with a game in hand.
Ponteland began brightly at the reigning champions and top scorer Harry Tulip went close with a header that was tipped around the post by keeper Jordan English.
But Matthew Thompson smashed the opener into the roof of the net for Harraby when a Steve Archibald shot had been blocked.
Midfielder Mark Boyd dusted himself off after being hacked 30 yards from goal to curl around the wall and into the top corner for number two, and former Annan Athletic hit-man Archibald reacted quickest to slide and poke in the third when a back-pass bobbled over horrified keeper Michael Havelock’s boot.
United pulled one back after the break as Ross Phillips powered in a six-yard header but a number of players saw yellow and the assistant boss was sent from the touchline as frustrations boiled over.
Scott McMullen’s free kick flew through a crowd of bodies and crept into the net as Alnwick boosted their title hopes with a narrow victory in front of a bumper crowd of more than 100 at Percy Main Amateurs.
Seaton Delaval Amateurs went ahead against Murton through Stephen Howes, and although Martyn Blenkinsopp equalised, Andy Johnson popped up with the winner for a Delaval side that have been in superb form.
Killingworth Sporting and Ashington Colliers shared the spoils with Elliot Dixon and Paul Dunn giving Killingworth a two-goal cushion before the Colliers hit back with a late Joe Moscrop double, one coming from the penalty spot.
Stocksfield eased all their relegation fears with a 4-0 victory over Walker Central. Steve Forster hit two with Ben Pearson and Martin Graham getting the others while Cramlington Town continued their superb form with a 4-1 win over Blyth Town.
The basement side had Simon Wilson (2), Keiran Parsons and Johnny Lowes on target while Neil Blades scored for Blyth, whose goalkeeper David Hanson was carried off with a suspected dislocated elbow.
Heaton Stannington came out on top in a seven goal thriller at Carlisle City.
Lawrence McKenna struck twice for Heaton and he was joined on the scoresheet by Andrew Weeks and Adam Donaghey while Stuart Kilgour, Dan Gowith and a Shaun Backhouse own goal made up the City tally.
Christian Wilkinson scored twice as Division One leaders Hebburn Reyrolle took another step towards the Premier Division with a 2-0 win at Gosforth Bohemians.
Whitley Bay A remain in second after Michael McMullen and Ian Lee netted for the Seahorses in a 2-1 success over Peterlee Town.
Wallington’s Jordan Nellis and Tom Walton were on target in a 2-1 win over Cullercoats with Dave Shelitt replying and Simon Murphy and Jonathon Addy were Newcastle University’s scorers in a 2-1 win over Stobswood Welfare, who are not out of relegation trouble yet.
Forest Hall boosted their chances of beating the drop with a storming 6-1 win over Berwick United Ultras, who are now nervously eyeing the drop zone themselves.
Dieu Lomana hit two and Dean Smith, Dan Sherlicker, Connor Andrews and Darren Henderson all joined in during the romp.
South Shields United won 5-3 at Morpeth Sports.
Steve McLaughlin’s hat-trick handed Newcastle Chemfica Independent the Division Two title.
The big striker netted his treble in a hard-fought 3-2 win at basement side Wideopen, who had Phil Grant and Phillip Spratt on target.
Second-placed Wallsend Town’s 5-3 defeat at Willington Quay Saints ended their title challenge. Mark Henderson shot Saints ahead but goals from Ryan Arnott, Derek Graham and Craig Burke put Town in charge.
But goals from Henderson, Glen Johnson(2) and Simon Partridge in the last ten minutes produced a surprise turnaround.
Simonside SC’s Ian Hudson and Marc Drysdale scored at Swalwell but they were pegged back by strikes from Mark Fitzpatrick and Stuart Rook. Ten men Swalwell held out for the point after having keeper Grant Scott dismissed for handball outside the box in the second half and Tynemouth United were stunned as Whitley Bay Town pulled of a 5-3 win on their turf.
Michael Robson smashed in four times for Hexham as they thrashed Cramlington United 6-0 with Steven Brown and Thomas North also netting while John Slaven hit a double for Northbank in their 3-0 success over Red House Farm. Nicky Routledge got the other.