Consett are considering an appeal to Durham FA over the dismissal of midfielder Peter Kirkham at South Shields on Saturday.

Kirkham, the former Darlington midfielder, was red-carded for allegedly swearing at the referee's assistant in the second half of the game, which ended in a 2-2 draw, but Consett are claiming mistaken identity.

Manager Ray Lish said: "Peter and one of their players tussled for the ball, and they both went down, The linesman called the referee over, and said that one of the players had sworn. The referee was about to take action against the South Shields player, but the linesman flagged again, and said that it was Peter who had sworn.

"Spectators on that side of the ground said that Peter hadn't sworn, and in the clubhouse afterwards their players confirmed that.

"Peter was close to tears - he's only been booked once in his whole career."

Guisborough manager Steve Corden was delighted with his team's 3-2 shock win at leaders Durham last Saturday.

"It was a very good win," he said,. "We seem to save our best performances against teams near the top of the table, as we've already won at Whitley Bay and Bedlington this season, while we ran Shildon pretty close as well. We seem to be playing better away from home this season

"We've got games in hand on the teams around us, and we need to win them."

Durham City striker Micky Dunwell has started a five week suspension - the first the club has suffered for a dismissal this season.

Dunwell was sent off in a recent league game, which means that he is going to miss few weeks for the league leaders.

Manager Billy Cruddas said: "I think it is a very good record for the club, plus our good discipline has meant that we have had cover for all the injuries we've had."

Cruddas, meanwhile, has admitted that his team have managed to blow the title race wide open in the last few weeks.

After looking favourites to win their first title in a decade, City have lost twice in recent weeks, allowing the chasing pack to catch up.

He said: "Dunston are the favourites now because of their games in hand, but other clubs, like Bedlington and Shildon, are also in the frame. We must start picking points up again."

Dunston are seven points behind Durham with five games in hand, and assistant manager Perry Briggs said: "We've got some really hard games coming up.

"It's a great chance for us to win the league, but the players have got to get their heads down and keep working.

"Plus it will be important for us to keep away from injuries and suspensions."

Easington's hopes of avoiding relegation were boosted by their win at bottom club Shotton last weekend.

Easington are still second bottom, but they are right behind Norton, who are a place above them.

Manager Peter Grasham said: "Ironically, we've played a lot better and got beat this season, but the three points were more important.

"The players did well to grind out a result and keep a clean sheet."

Meanwhile, defender Lee Blackett has been put on the transfer list at his own request.

Newcastle Benfield Saints aren't getting carried away by their excellent first season in the league.

Benfield could achieve promotion for the second successive season if they clinch the third promotion spot, but they know there is a lot of work to do.

General manager Bob Morton said: "We've still got 17 games to go, but we're faced with a situation in which we'll be playing at least twice a week in some weeks.

"We think that we need another 40 points to go up. Ashington and Consett are in league of their own, and what we're aiming to do is to finish top of the next league."

Peterlee's home game with Shildon on February 28 has been brought forward to the night before, as both clubs have players who wish to go to see Boro play in the Carling Cup final two days later.

A group of Norwegian supporters who visited Willington last year are coming over again to play a friendly.

The group read of Willington's financial plight, and visited them for a Second Division game, boosting the clubhouse's receipts.

And now they have arranged to play a friendly at Hall Lane a day before Newcastle are to play Vallarenga in the UEFA Cup.

Shildon have signed midfielder John McKie from local football.

McKie, 17, has been on York City's books as a YTS, and has recently been playing for Darlington Spraire Lads.

Willington have been charged by the Northern League with bringing the game into disrepute following their abandoned game at Newcastle Benfield Saints in October.

The match was abandoned by match referee Ian Kavanagh after Willington boss Alan Shoulder allegedly refused to obey his instructions, and now the club has been instructed to appear in front of the Northern League. However, the issue is complicated by the fact that Durham FA have still to reach a decision over Shoulder's dismissal, because of the non-appearance of the referee at a recent hearing.

West Auckland have signed defender Ben Summers on a permanent basis from Darlington. Summers has been a YTS at the club, but West manager Alex Mathie has snapped him up after his release.

Shotton manager Vince Kirkup has paid tribute to club officials Billy Banks and Brian Maxwell.

Kirkup was appointed in November and says that he has been given plenty of encouragement by the secretary and chairman.

"I've been made to feel very welcome since I came to the club.

"The pair have never stopped providing encouragement, in what are difficult circumstances for everybody at the bottom of the league.

"They've allowed me to get on with my job.

"They're always working hard for the club, not just on match days."

The revised draw for the quarter finals of the league cup is: Esh Winning v Billingham Synthonia, Penrith or Marske v Alnwick or South Shields, Morpeth v Dunston , Brandon v Durham

The draw for the third round of the Craven Cup is: Newcastle Benfield or Washington Nissan v South Shields or Newcastle Blue Star, Crook v Northallerton, Evenwood or Shotton v Willington or Norton, Whickham or Ashington v Alnwick or Consett.

tomorrow's fixtures: Division One: Billingham Synthonia v Shildon, Billingham Town v Tow Law, Dunston v Morpeth, Durham City v Washington, Esh Winning v West Auckland, Guisborough v Bedlington, Horden v Chester-le-Street, Jarrow Roofing v Peterlee, Marske v Brandon, Whitley Bay v Penrith

Division Two: Ashington v Prudhoe, Consett v Murton, Crook Town v Easington, Hebburn v Shotton, Kennek Ryhope CA v Alnwick, Seaham Red Star v Whickham, South Shields v Newcastle Blue Star, Washington Nissan v Northallerton, Willington v Newcastle Benfield.