Crook's new manager Ronan Liddane is "delighted" with his side's start to the season.

He took over during the summer and has seen Crook recover quickly from relegation last season, and push themselves into promotion contention this time around.

"I'm very pleased by the performances of the players," said Liddane.

"The spirit in the side is really good. To be 3-1 down at Parkgate in our Cup tie last week and score two goals in the closing minutes speaks volumes."

Crook defeated Parkgate at the Millfield with a late goal, and are at home to Pickering in the first qualifying round tomorrow.

And just like all the other clubs involved at this stage of the Cup, Crook will be hoping to lay their hands on a much-needed £7,500 bonanza, which is paid to the winner of each tie at this stage.

Crook are looking for a physio. Anyone interested should contact secretary Alan Stewart on (01388) 764216.

Durham City have thrown a lifeline to striker David McMahon.

He was released by Newcastle in the summer, and was handed an opportunity by City.

Tow Law manager Graeme Forster thought his Alnwick curse had struck again in their League cup tie on Tuesday night.

Forster has rarely finished on the winning side against the Northumbrians, and he thought the game was going the same way at Ironworks Road.

"Even though we scored after 45 seconds through Lee Innes, they equalised straight away.

"We had so many chances and couldn't put the ball away. The referee told me after the game we hit the woodwork eight times, because I lost count. When that happened, I had a sense of deja vu.

"Fortunately, Lee managed to break through again and we took control in the second half."

Marc Eccles (2), Phil Jones and Paul Richardson scored for Lawyers after the break.

West Auckland will be without striker Jonathan Milroy for at least six weeks after he broke his jaw against Harrogate Town in their FA Cup tie at Darlington Road. He wasn't aware of the damage until going to the doctors earlier this week.

In that time, Milroy appeared in the replay at Harrogate Town, and also played a part in the FA Vase victory over Ashington last Saturday.

Dunston striker Paul Hogg scored four times in the first half against Billingham Synthonia in their League cup tie and Andy Fletcher netted the fifth with a left foot volley.

The big shock on Tuesday night was the defeat of last season's beaten finalists, Marske United at Second Division Whickham.

Marske manager Charlie Bell has lost most of last season's team to clubs in the UniBond League, and that has been shown with his team close to the bottom of the First Division.

Whickham sub Kevin Hay scored the goal that mattered near the end. Newcastle Blue Star, lost at home to Second Division outfit, Prudhoe for whom Steve Hamil scored five minutes before half-time.

Guisborough lost 2-1 at home to Consett, who scored twice within three minutes in the first half.

Gareth McKenna scored direct from a corner after 21 minutes, and two minutes later Ray Gordon tapped in a second. Jamie Clarke pulled one back with a header.

Whitley Bay got the better of Chester-le-Street 3-2. Ian Chandler, Steve Cuggy and Rob Livermore scored for Whitley, with Steve Leadbitter and an own goal replying.

Brandon, who are flying high near the top of the First Division, needed penalties to beat Second Division leaders Penrith.

The scores were level 2-2 at the end of 90 minutes and again at the end of golden-goal extra time, before Brandon won 5-3 on penalties.

Andrew Chapman and Tony Raison scored for Penrith, with Andrew Burton and Michael Cunningham on target for Brandon.

Four players were sent off in the game between South Shields and Washington. Nissan took the lead when Lee Maddison scored, and after Shields' Mark Scott was dismissed for swearing, the home side levelled with a lob from Andy Howarth. Owen Peterson restored the lead for Nissan but within two minutes Stephen Johnson equalised.

Both sides then had a man sent off for fighting - Neil Moan from the home side and Johnson from the visitors - before Gavin Cobden finished off a good move to put Nissan in front.

But late in the game Wayne Peachey scored direct from a corner, and right at the end with extra time looming, Peter Robson scored the winner. There was still time for Peterson to be given his marching orders for swearing.

On Wednesday night.

Bedlington, who won the competition last season, were knocked out at the first hurdle when Paul Rowntree scored a golden goal for Billingham Town ten minutes into extra time at Welfare Park.

Shildon had a 2-1 win over West Auckland at Dean Street, John Outhwaite heading the winner just two minutes from the end from a right wing cross.

Shildon took the lead through Nigel Bolton and West appeared to have forced extra time with a shot from Paul Stout.

Jarrow Roofing beat Thornaby 2-0, thanks to two goals from Paul Chow.

He scored his first after 43 minutes when he beat two men and fired past Thornaby keeper Nick Bates, and he got his second in stoppage time at the end of the game from a Justin Perry cross.

Durham City beat Washington with a last minute goal.

Washington took the lead through Lee O'Donovan, who later hit the post before half time.

Stuart Irvine levelled after 55 minutes, with Lee Ludlow lobbing the keeper for the winner with two minutes left.

The draw for the first qualifying round of the Durham Challenge Cup is: Easington v Billingham Synthonia, Washington v Jarrow, Murton v Seaham Red Star, Boldon CA v Willington, Harton and Westoe v Cleadon, Ryhope CW v Evenwood, Consett v Norton, Annfield Plain v Jarrow Roofing, New Birtley v Stanley, Peterlee v Wolviston, Spennymoor v Birtley, Whickham v Esh Winning.

Ties are to be played on or before October 6