Arngrove Northern League: Sunderland Nissan manager Wilf Constantine laid down the gauntlet to the chasing pack after they extended their lead at the top of the table to five points with a 3-1 win at Durham City.

Nissan have won five of their last six matches to become the surprise package of the season so far, and Constantine said: "It was a fantastic result to win at Durham, and it shows that we're genuine title contenders.

"The players are very determined, and never stopped running. We had several players missing, but the others responded very well and I believe now that we can stay at the top."

Durham took the lead after five minutes with a Tommy English penalty but Nissan levelled from another spot kick just before half time, when Gavin Cogdon scored.

Nissan went 2-1 up after 71 minutes when Andy Reay scored from a rebound, and they got a third when Cogdon to beat Durham keeper James Winter from ten yards.

Only Nissan from Saturday morning's top nine won.

Second placed Billingham Town's eleven game winning run came to an end when they were held to a 1-1 draw by Dunston.

Town took the lead early in the second half through Stephen Flockett, but Dunston quickly equalised when Town keeper Darren Collier dropped an Adam Scope corner into his own net.

West Auckland, in third, were held to a 1-1 draw at Newcastle Benfield.

Benfield took the lead in the second minute through Michael Dixon. However, West, who introduced new signing Karl Everitt from Worksop, equalised when Lee Ellison tucked away the penalty.

Shildon missed several chances and paid the penalty to draw 1-1 with Whitley Bay.

Shildon's Kevin Shoulder and Simon Ord both missed good chances before they took the lead on 35 minutes when John Hutton headed in from a Stuart Niven corner, but they continued to waste more chances and paid the penalty on 75 minutes when Mark Sheeran was fouled in the area, and he scored from the spot.

There was still time for Ord and Wayne Gredziak to miss good chances for the Railwaymen, who are still fourth.

Consett have now failed to win any of their last three matches after they were held to a goalless draw at home by Northallerton. Michael Mackay had a header cleared off the line in the first half for Consett, while Steve Cochrane hit the post for Northallerton after the interval.

Darlington RA dropped into the relegation zone after they were thumped 6-2 at Tow Law.

Lawyers took the lead after ten minutes when Derek Waters crossed from the left for Andy Thompson to score.

Michael Coulthard got the second from a Waters corner on the half hour. Waters set up another goal for Nicky Lyons to score with a diving header just before half-time.

Lee Hamilton fired a fourth on 50 minutes before the RA pulled a goal back through Steve Johnson, and they made it 4-2 with a Nick Harrison header.

Ian Davison restored Lawyers' composure with a header, and then Garry Barnes helped on a corner for Thompson to get the sixth.

Bishop Auckland were below their best as they picked up a point in a 2-2 draw at Bedlington.

The home side missed a couple of chances in the first half, but it was Bishops who took the lead when Jamie Clarke scored from a cross by Scott Nicholson just before the hour.

Bedlington equalised with a low shot by Alex Benjamin and he then crossed for Alex Lawson to put them into the lead. Bishops equalised on 72 minutes through Gavin Parkin before Clarke was dismissed late in the game for two bookable offences.

Newcastle Blue Star's run of four straight wins was ended by Morpeth, who beat them 3-1 at the Wheatsheaf.

Morpeth striker Kevin Henderson scored twice inside the first ten minutes, with Ian Nickalls getting a third just before half time. Gareth McAlindon pulled a goal back for Star in the second half.

Horden manager Mark Fanning collected his first point as manager when they drew 2-2 at Jarrow Roofing, although they led 2-0 with just ten minutes left.

Gus Di Lella put them in front when he scored with a left foot shot, then Nicky Martin beat a defender and beat Jonathan Carmichael for the second.

However, Horden tired and Ibby Hassan crossed for Paul Chow to pull one back, then Anthony Irwin levelled with just five minutes left.

Billingham Synthonia pushed Ashington into deeper trouble with a 3-2 win at Central Avenue.

Synners went behind on 18 minutes when Andrew Spratt scored from a Chris Fawcett cross, but they equalised just before the break with a Colin Iley header from a David Wells corner. Then just on half-time he turned in the loose ball and after Craig Perry's shot was blocked.

They went 3-1 up on 63 minutes through Ben Hutchinson from a Gary Hamilton pass, before Ashington pulled a goal back when Synners keeper John Jackson failed to gather a through ball and Alan Hogg tapped in.

Chester-le-Street's home form let them down again when they were beaten 3-0 at home by West Allotment, who are now out of the relegation zone.

David Potts headed Allotment into the lead after 30 minutes, and then he scored with another header after a poor punch by Chester keeper Ian Aitken. Potts then set up Ben Dawson to sidefoot the third.

In the second division, Sunderland RCA finally won their first game of the season at the 19th attempt when they beat Crook Town 2-1.

Johnny Butler scored a goal in each half to put Sunderland in control, with Paul Bailes pulling a goal back for Crook.

Spennymoor are four points clear at the top after a narrow 1-0 home win over Stokesley.

The only goal came just before half-time when Chris Lawther broke down the right, and his shot was deflected past the Stokesley keeper. At the other end, Ben Escritt pulled off an excellent save near the end.

Guisborough and South Shields, stay fifth and second respectively after they drew 0-0 at the King George.

Guisborough keeper Kevin Wolfe pulled off an excellent save in the first half.

Seaham Red Star are third thanks to a last gasp winner against Ryton. The visitors led with a first half goal by Mark Campbell, but John Toft levelled from the spot after Paul Taylor was fouled, and with virtually the last kick of the game midfielder Dion Raitt fired into the top corner.

Washington recorded their fifth straight win, with a 3-0 victory at Team Northumbria. Ross Preston headed them into the lead from a corner, then TN defender Daniel Brannon completely misplaced a pass on the edge of his own penalty area into his own net. Steve Burns made sure with a 25 yarder.

Marske are now unbeaten in nine matches with a 2-1 home win over Thornaby, who took the lead with a free-kick by Harrison Davies. David Onions equalised with a header before half-time, then he got the winner from a long clearance in the second half.

Hebburn are still in touch with the leading group courtesy of a 2-1 home win over Prudhoe, Garry McCartney scoring both their goals, with Lee Laidler replying for Prudhoe.

Norton won for the first time in seven games with a 5-1 victory at Esh Winning, where all the goals came in the second half. Graeme Baverstock scored a hat-trick, with sub Tyson Masters, on his return to the side after a month in his native Australia, scoring with his first touch, and then adding another.

Shaun Gregory replied in the last minute for Esh, who are just two points above the relegation zone.

Whickham climbed four places by thumping second bottom Alnwick 6-0 at the Glebe.

Alnwick held their own for an hour, and then collapsed, with Whickham striker Ian Robson taking his goal tally for the season to 22 in the league with a hat trick, with Kevin Hay (2) and Andy Wilson getting the others.

Brandon stay fourth bottom because of a 2-0 away defeat at North Shields, for whom Chris Douglas scored twice.

In the UniBond League, Gateshead beat Marine 2-0 at the International Stadium, with goals from Chris Hughes and Craig Nelthorpe.

Whitby lost 2-1 at home to Prescot Cables.

In the Northern Alliance, Peterlee lost 2-0 at home to Newcastle University, and Easington lost 3-0 at Blyth Town.