North Shields made it 13 league wins on the bounce with a 3-1 midweek success in North Yorkshire, but that proud record was blown apart at Seaham’s Town Park three days later.
Shields shaded a goal-less first period at Ainderby Road before eventually finding a way past Northallerton’s capable keeper Grant Hickman.
It was full back Joe Elliott who made the breakthrough duly rewarded for his willingness to get into the box and drive his team forward.
A second strike took his season’s tally to seven.
Howlett pulled a goal back for the hosts late on, then Gareth Bainbridge had a goal chalked off by an offside flag before Ben Richardson’s dipping 25 yarder secured the points and sparked the celebrations.
But on Saturday, Seaham’s windswept pitch offered no assistance to flowing football and a dire encounter saw the Robins suffer only their third reverse and Seaham complete a league double.
The County Durham outfit, though, still trail Graham Fenton’s side by nine points in fourth place having completed three more fixtures.
Shields were critical of the officiating after allowing a two-footed challenge to go unpunished early on and that set the tone.
More unnecessary controversy was courted when Dean Nicholson was allowed the opportunity to convert from the spot following an offence most thought took place outside of the area.
Moments later the officials missed a foul in the build-up and Kerr made it 2-0.
The Robins, having failed to capitalise on wind advantage in the first period, seemed jaded and out muscled, rarely appearing to be able to claw their way back despite a lively showing from substitute Dan Smart.
And it was no real surprise when Palmer added a third before the close.
Good news for Shields is the return of former captain, defender and player of the year Dan Patterson after a spell at Morpeth Town, whilst keeper Michael Robinson, on the injured list since hobbling off against West Allotment in October, was able to be named on Saturday’s team sheet.
Due to be in League Cup action at Brandon on Wednesday, Shields host Norton and Stockton Ancients on Saturday (3pm).
Three successive Wednesday home matches are lined up: Thornaby, March 5; Willington, March 12 and Jarrow Roofing (semi-final Ernest Armstrong Trophy, March 19.