Tow Law are within sight of First Division safety after they beat Billingham Town 2-1 - but they had to survive two penalties and play most of a nervous last half hour with ten men.

Lawyers had former Darlington player Phil Brumwell dismissed for arguing with a linesman over a second-half penalty that put Billingham back into the game.

Manager Geoff Young said: "We had two penalties awarded against us during the game, but we didn't allow them to affect us too much.

"It was a valuable three points, because they keep the pressure on the other clubs in trouble. If we keep picking up points, we can escape relegation."

Lawyers are two points above the relegation zone, but a win over second-bottom Peterlee tomorrow will guarantee their survival.

Town got their first penalty after ten minutes, when Carl Beasley fouled Carl Chillingsworth, but Lawyers keeper Andrew Spence saved David Turner's spot-kick.

Lawyers took advantage by taking the lead after 23 minutes. Stuart Niven beat Town's stand-in keeper Michael Canavan with a good header from Brumwell's cross.

And then Brumwell made it 2-0 when he headed in an Ian Davison cross - his first goal for the club.

But there was controversy to follow. The referee's assistant adjudged that Young was fouled by Chillingsworth and, after Brumwell was dismissed for arguing, Chillingsworth scored from the spot.

Consett gave themselves a boost when they won 1-0 at Whitley Bay, to keep their survival hopes alive.

Whitley hit the woodwork through Andy Fairlamb and Chris Moore, but Consett gradually came more into the game.

Andy Banks was denied by Terry Burke, but Banks got the winner on 67 minutes when a hurried clearance by Burke went straight to him, and he slotted the ball in from 20 yards.

Consett are at home to Ashington and Shildon in their remaining games.

Brandon are still fifth-bottom, but are now in the range of Tow Law and Consett after they were beaten by a late disputed goal at Morpeth.

Paul Beavers headed against the bar for Morpeth before they took the lead with a Chris Douglas shot, before Brandon levelled on 64 minutes through Shaun Gregory in a goalmouth scramble.

Craig Coates missed two chances to win it for Brandon, before Morpeth got the winner with seven minutes left through Beavers with the visiting defence appealing for offside.

Brandon need to win at Esh Winning in their last game on Saturday to overtake West Auckland, who finished their fixtures with a 2-2 draw at Newcastle Benfield.

West took an early lead when Dale Jardine robbed a defender and ran 40 yards before shooting past the keeper, but Benfield levelled when Lee Ludlow set up Adam Scope to score from the edge of the box.

Jardine and Andy Cole missed opportunities to put West into the lead, but an Andy Gibson mistake let in Stephen Young to put Benfield in front.

In the last minute, Jardine scored with a powerful shot to give West a point.

Benfield are hanging on to third, with Whitley Bay and Bedlington right behind.

Billingham Synthonia clinched runners-up spot even though they were beaten 2-0 at Horden.

Synners had to play almost an hour with ten men after Craig Perry was dismissed for two bookable offences and Horden took advantage when Andy McKenna scored from a Chris I'Anson pass.

Horden got their second when Darren Atkinson fired in.

Bedlington's runners-up chances are over after they lost 2-1 at fellow Vase semi-finalists Jarrow Roofing.

Justin Perry put Roofing into the lead with a low shot after 26 minutes, then Paul Chow set up Craig Nelson to score a second from a Paul Chow pass, his fourth goal inside a week.

Steve Preen pulled a goal back from a Tony Shandran assist with 15 minutes left.

Durham City's new boss Neil Hixon tasted victory for the first time when they won 3-0 at Esh Winning, all the goals coming in the last 15 minutes.

City took the lead when Michael Mackay scored with a header in a goalmouth scramble and then Stephen Stewart raced clear and fired into the top corner.

Mackay got another from the spot after Robbie Herbert was brought down to give him 27 league goals for the season.

City are hoping to complete the signing of former Darlington and York midfielder Gary Pearson during the summer.

Shildon warmed up for tomorrow night's league cup semi-final with a 2-0 away win at bottom club Guisborough.

They took an early lead with a shot by Steve Huggins, and he got the second on the hour from ten yards.

Ashington won their third successive game with a 4-0 victory at Thornaby, with Alan Hogg scoring a hat-trick.

Ross Atkinson raced through to give them the lead on 28 minutes, then Hogg got the second from a headed pass by Alex Lawson.

They went 3-0 up when Hogg scored from a Derek Attwell pass, and then Hogg fired in the fourth for his 25th league goal of the season.

West Allotment are promoted from the second division after they beat Evenwood 3-1.

Allotment scored twice inside the first eight minutes through David Potts and Andy Purvis. Evenwood pulled one back through Stuart Cottam, but Micky Chilton completed the scoring with his 46th league goal of the season.

Newcastle Blue Star need two points from their last three matches to be promoted after they beat Marske United 2-0, David McMahon and Michael Fenwick scoring their goals.

They had David Johnson dismissed just after half-time. One of Blue Star's officials, Joe Hobin, was a referee's assistant after the non-appearance of one of the officials.

The third promotion place might not be decided for at least another week.

Northallerton are third after they beat Crook Town 2-1 at Ainderby Road, thanks to a second half penalty save by keeper Sam Dobbs from a Andrew Shaw spot-kick.

Craig Winter headed them in front from a corner, but Jonathan Milroy levelled.

Ross Foreman, on as substitute for Steve Cochrane, got the winner.

Washington Nissan are fourth, two points behind with two games in hand, after they beat second bottom Easington 2-0. Tony Hanson and Gavin Cogdon, with his 38th league goal of the season, scored for Nissan.

Northallerton play Nissan on Saturday.

Prudhoe's nine game winning run came to an end when they were held to a 2-2 draw at Kennek Ryhope CA, and they now drop to fifth.

Bottom club Willington's misery continued as they were thumped 7-1 at South Shields, for whom Craig Lines scored a hat-trick.

Hebburn are still two points above the drop zone after they lost 2-1 at Whickham.

Washington lost for the 12th game in a row when they were beaten 3-0 at home by North Shields.

Seaham Red Star lost 2-0 at home to Alnwick.