West Auckland manager Gary Forrest blamed poor game management after his side lost 2-1 at home to North Shields on Saturday.

West have lost ground on leaders Morpeth after two defeats in a week – the other was a shock result against Bishop Auckland – and Forrest says that his defence needs sorting out.

“We made some bad decisions in the game,” he said. “We have an inexperienced and young team, and not much game management. We seem to play within ourselves, and it’s only when we have our backs to the wall when we start to play. We got going after Anthony Bell was sent off, but it was too late then.”

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Shields took the lead with an early penalty by Gareth Bainbridge after a foul by full back Jamie Cobain, and they went 2-0 up midway through the second half when Dean Holmes set up Paul Robinson to score.

West pulled a goal back when Adam Mitchell’s shot was blocked and Amar Purewal scored from the rebound, but within minutes Anthony Bell was dismissed for two yellow cards.

However, West nearly levelled with a Mitchell free kick that was cleared off the line as they piled on the pressure late in the game.

West are now four points behind leaders Morpeth, who have a game in hand. Morpeth won 4-1 against Washington on Saturday.

Fourth placed Shildon are still unbeaten in seven league games thanks to a 2-0 away win at Stockton Town, who belied their bottom position with their battling performance.

Shildon manager Danny Moore said; “Stockton have been closely involved in games all season and that was the case in our game. They could have been in front but our keeper Nick Liversedge was immense and we ground out an important win and Stockton will feel that they should have had something out of the game -- I’d agree. They’re a good set of lads and they will soon pick up points.”

Shildon took the points with two penalties by Matty Robson in the second half, but they could easily have been two or three down by half time if Stockton had taken their chances.