NEWCASTLE Benfield manager Steve Bowey defended his decision to allow his keeper to take a penalty after Billingham Town accused them of a lack of respect in their 5-0 victory in the Ebac Northern League First Division on Saturday.

The division’s bottom team have conceded more than 200 goals in the league this season, but they took offence when Benfield allowed their keeper, Andy Grainger, to take a penalty near the end.

“I was disappointed with Benfield allowing their keeper to take the second penalty and then yelling ‘yahoo’ when the fifth went in with the last kick of the game,” said Town manager Darren Trotter.

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“No other team has shown that lack of respect towards us this season, even though they have battered us.”

But Benfield said that they allowed former Darlington keeper Grainger to take the penalty to reward his long service for the club.

Bowey said; “Andy has been at Benfield for 11 years and it’s his testimonial season. He told me a fortnight ago that he has never scored a goal, so I thought, why not.”

Benfield took the lead after 11 minutes when Paul Brayson chipped the ball over Town keeper Corey Smith, and they didn’t go 2-0 up until the 74th minute when Brayson scored with a deflected shot.

Brayson completed his hattrick from the penalty spot on 82 minutes following a foul.

Then came the moment that caused the controversy when Grainger made it 4-0 from the spot, and in the closing minutes assistant manager Gareth McAlindon scored the fifth.

Leaders Celtic Nation won 4-0 at Marske United. The Nation took the lead when Colin McMenamin scored from a free kick, then Matty Grieve fired home. McMenamin then made it 3-0 from the penalty spot, and Jim Paterson chipped the keeper from 30 yards.

Second-placed Spennymoor kept their nerve by beating Consett 1-0 at the Brewery Field.

Moors took the lead on 32 minutes when Andrew Stephenson turned in a crosscum- shot from Andy Johnson, and after they could have added further goals, but Chris Elliott made some good saves in the Consett goal.

Shildon kept the pressure on the top two by beating Sunderland RCA 4-0, all the goals coming in the second half.

Chris Emms blasted them into the lead from a Sam Garvie pass, then full back Darren Richardson headed in a Chris Emms free kick.

Jamie Harwood and Lee Paul Scroggins combined well for Emms to score, then Emms was involved in the fourth, his corner falling for Richardson to score.

The performance of the day came from Crook Town, who came back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 against Guisborough.

The visitors took the lead through the league’s leading scorer Danny Johnson after 12 minutes, then Mikey Roberts added a second to give the front pair close on a century of goals this season.

Crook were much better in the second half, and pulled a goal back when Craig Hughes headed home at the second attempt, then Robbie Bird picked up a long clearance from Barry Poskett and fired past the Guisborough keeper.

Poskett saved a Roberts penalty at the other end, and Crook took advantage in the last minute when Hughes headed in a Bird cross.

FA Vase finalists West Auckland drew 1-1 with Whitley Bay at the Seagraves Stadium.

West missed a good chance to take the lead when John Campbell was brought down, but his spot kick was saved by keeper Danny Gladstone.

Whitley took the lead on 31 minutes when Chris Reid headed in a Michael Mc- Mullen corner, and the visitors missed a chance for a second when Paul Chow missed from the spot after Tom Bott was fouled. West levelled with seven minutes remaining through Kris Wilkinson.

Bishop Auckland won 3-0 at Billingham Synthonia.

Bishops took the lead on 28 minutes when Jonny Butler headed against the post and Danny Brunskill scored from the rebound.

It was 2-0 when former Darlington midfielder Adrian Webster burst through and fired past Synners keeper James Briggs, and seven minutes after the break Brunskill volleyed home from the edge of the area.

Ian Chandler picked up his first point as Durham City’s manager when they drew1-1 with Morpeth at New Ferens Park.

Morpeth took the lead on 35 minutes with a strike by Steve Anderson, but Durham levelled soon after half time with a superb free kick by Olly Hotchkiss from 25 yards.

Newton Aycliffe produced one of their worst performances of the season when they were beaten 5-2 at second bottom Hebburn.

The Northern Echo:
Billingham’s Andrew Burton and Bishop Auckland’s Adrian Webster battle for the ball

The home side took the lead with a header by Neil Scott, but Aycliffe levelled when Hebburn defender Callum Smith turned a Tom Atkinson cross into his own net. Shaun Reay made it 2-1 after a mistake by Aycliffe keeper Andrew Spence, but just after half time Craig Mickle scored from a Gary Wood pass. But then Aycliffe collapsed.

Channon North put Hebburn 3-2 up after Calvin McMahon hit the post – the 100th league goal that Aycliffe have conceded this season – and after Aycliffe’s Jamie Owens had a penalty saved, and North headed the fourth.

North completed his hat-trick after a McMahon shot ran loose.

Dunston UTS had a day to forget, losing 4-0 at Ashington.

Andrew Johnson headed Ashington into the lead on the half hour and Glen Taylor fired the second. Lee Scott got the third, Kyle Oliver finished Dunston off from close range.

In the other game, Bedlington drew 0-0 with Penrith.

North Shields are the second division champions following a 3-1 win at South Shields.

South took the lead after 15 minutes through Adam Burnicle, and they could have scored more before half time.

But North recovered and levelled when Dean Walker scored with the help of a deflection, then Dean Holmes fired into the top corner. Walker wrapped up the title with a low shot.

West Allotment celebrated promotion after beating Washington by the only goal of the game. Allotment scored the goal that mattered with a header by Sean Reid from a Chris Douglas corner.

Seaham Red Star are third, four points ahead of fourth, after they beat Ryton and Crawcrook 3-0. Chris McCabe put Seaham into the lead on seven minutes, and before half time Dean Nicholson scored a second. Lee Kerr made sure late in the game.

Jarrow Roofing dropped further behind Seaham after drawing 1-1 at Thornaby, who scored in the last minute.

Roofing missed some good chances before Andy Appleby scored from a Dan Carson through ball on 70 minutes, but in the last minute Ged Livingstone scored from a loose ball after Roofing keeper Chris Hunter blocked a shot.

Seaham have one game remaining at Washington, while Roofing have three left against Heaton Stannington, Willington and Whitehaven.

Northallerton won 2-0 at Willington. They took the lead with a header by Danny McLachlan before half time, then Aaron Ramsbottom ran through and scored the second.

Third bottom Brandon could only pick up a point from their home game with Stokesley, drawing 1-1. Connor Hood put Stokesley into the lead on 36 minutes, but Stephen Oakley levelled for Brandon on 66. Stokesley need two more points to ensure safety from the only relegation place, Brandon need five.

Tow Law had a good 3-2 win at Whitehaven. Lawyers took an early lead through Kai Hewitson, but Darren Donald equalised on 25 minutes. Luke Parkinson and Hewitson put Lawyers 3-1 up, before Kevin Connolly pulled a late goal back.

Darlington RA won their first home since Christmas by beating Alnwick 2-1 at Brinkburn Road. Mark Sims scored twice for the RA before Kieran Hogg replied in stoppage time for Alnwick.

Norton beat Birtley 2-0 at Station Road, with goals by Gary Mitchell and a peach by Michael Jameson. Mitchell also had a penalty saved.

Whickham drew 1-1 with Chester-le-Street at the Glebe.

Ross Peareth put Whickham into the lead, but Damien Stevens equalised.

In the Evostik League premier division , Blyth drew 1-1 with Nantwich, with Arjun Purewal scoring their goal.

Blyth are now seventh, eight points below the play-offs with only four games to play.

Whitby lost to a goal in each half at Matlock.