Team Northumbria maintained their unbeaten start to the league season on the back of a hard-fought 1-0 victory in front of their home fans.
It was another vital win against strong mid-table side Norton & Stockton Ancients in what turned out to be a real battle at Coach Lane.
“I think that’s a massive three points," said TN manager Colin Stromsoy. "I think that’s probably the most important three points we’ve gained this season."
Stromsoy acknowledged his team weren’t at their best but added: “I think we played well against a very well organised and overall very good team.”
It was a shaky start to the match for both teams as neither side managed to settle with the ball at their feet.
TN began to enjoy some strong spells of possession and some clever interplay lead to a number of chances in the first half with Ben Dibb-Fuller and Aiden Heywood frequently troubling the Norton defence.
The half-time team talk appeared to galvanise the Norton & Stockton players who came out re-energised.
The opposition went close a few times but for the efforts of captain Steven Mundy who put in a near perfect performance as the last line of defence.
Dibb-Fuller continued his fine run of form and looked a real danger throughout the game - going close a number of times in and around the box.
And it was Dibb-Fuller who would claim the assist for the game’s only goal following a break from a Norton & Stockon corner.
His looped cross proved too difficult to defend as Daniel Taggart rose above the Teesside defence to head the ball home.
“It was a really mature performance from Daniel," added Stromsoy. "He held the ball up well, looked dangerous on the turn and gave us some real opportunities."
It was then a case of keeping the lead for TN and a composed and confident performance from the defence ensured that the well-deserved lead was not lost.
Stromsoy's side now sit top of the league tied on points with Stockton but with two games in hand and travel to Esh Winning on Wednesday night.
Hopefully the team can pick up another win and put some distance between themselves and the other top spot competitors.