PICKERING Town's battle to guarantee Evo-Stik League east division safety goes on following their 4-1 defeat last night at champions-elect Morpeth Town.

Danny Earl gave the 16th-placed Pikes hope at half-time with a 33rd-minute equaliser after David Carson's opener, but three unanswered second-half goals from Stephen Foster, Jeffrey Henderson and Joseph Walton put the hosts just a point away from securing the title.

Pickering have now caught up on outstanding fixtures and sit six points above the drop zone with three games to play.

Meanwhile, AFC Mansfield - who are 15th - will be relegated at the end of the season after club officials accepted that ground-grading criteria were not met by the deadline of March 31. It is not yet known how this will affect teams going down or coming up.