Bishop Auckland crept closer to the top two in the ENL First Division when they won 4-0 at Whickham on Saturday.

Their seventh away victory of the season helped them move to five points behind leaders Dunston, who were held to a 1-1 draw by Newcastle Benfield – and Bishops are at Dunston next Saturday in what will be their biggest game of the season.

Manager Ian Chandler said; “I was delighted with the performance against a very strong and decent team who fought for everything. Special praise to Nick Liversedge who made four or five fantastic saves especially when he saved a penalty at 2-0. Not many teams will get much from Whickham at their place. We played some excellent fast flowing football at times.”

Bishops went in front on 15 minutes when Michael Hoganson crossed for Kyle Patton to head from a few yards out, then Hoganson raced away and fired the second six minutes before half time.

Liversedge then made two good saves, and then excelled himself by saving a penalty from Whickham’s Lewis Teasdale. Hoganson then scored with a terrific free kick to make it 3-0 with three minutes left, then Chris Winn set up Jamie Marshall for the fourth in stoppage time.

West Auckland dropped out of the top five after they lost 2-1 at home to North Shields.

Ryan Carr put Shields into the lead with a deflected shot midway through the first half, and on 56 minutes he headed the second.

David Dowson pulled one back for West when he broke away and scored on the hour, his first for the club, but they couldn’t score another.

West manager Gary Forrest said; “It’s tough at the minute. No team could deal with six players missing like Nathan Fisher, Anth Bell, Steven Snaith, Tommy Price, Alex Francis and Dan Parker. Take six players out of any Northern League team and there would be carnage.

“The lads just need to dig in and grind it out.”

Shildon had a good 3-1 away win at Stockton Town to put them level on points with their opponents in midtable.

Billy Greulich-Smith headed Shildon into the lead from a David Palmer assist just before half time, then soon after the break Aiden Heywood scored from a Greulich-Smith cross. Heywood then made it 3-0 from the edge of the area before Kevin Hayes scored a screamer for a consolation.

Shildon manager Danny Moore said; “It was a good result and we deserved to win. We built on the last two performances.”

In the other games, league leaders Dunston UTS drew 1-1 with Newcastle Benfield, while Ashington beat Sunderland RCA 2-0.

Bottom club Penrith are still without a win after losing 4-3 at home to Hebburn, while Seaham Red Star improved their chances of finishing outside the bottom three after thumping Whitley Bay 5-0.

In the second division, Northallerton are now up to second thanks to a comfortable 3-0 away win at Esh Winning.

Aaron Ramsbottom put Northallerton into the lead with a 30 yarder on 14 minutes, then Andrew Shepherd fired the second just before half time. Damon Reaks got the third early in the second half.

Northallerton manager Darren Trotter said; “That’s two weeks running we have managed the game very well. We worked hard from start to finish and punished an Esh side who were in good form. All the players are feeling confident and can't wait for the next game to come which is exactly what we need at this time in the season.”

Esh Winning manager Tony Boakes said; “We named a squad of 20 on Wednesday, 13 turned up --which speaks volumes for player commitment -- so around seven changes from the team who won away to Bedlington. Not good enough from us at all. No complaints, we were well beaten by a very good and strong Northallerton side.”

Northallerton climbed above Thornaby, who were held to a 2-2 draw at Billingham Synthonia on Friday night.

Chester-le-Street are two points off the top two after they won 3-2 at Bedlington. Kieran Megran’s early goal was cancelled out, but Alex Walker and Jack Oliver put Chester 3-1 up before Bedlington pulled a late goal back.

Chester-le-Street manager Colin Wake said; “They were a well-deserved three points on a very poor pitch. It was a battle with very little football being played. The officials had an awkward afternoon with some baffling decisions made against both sides. It was frustrating given the state of the pitch, but we battled well and scored three good goals and another which was amazingly chalked off for offside.”

Willington won their groundsharing derby against bottom club Durham by 5-1 to climb into fifth.

Durham took an early lead through Ryan Donaldson, but Willington hit back through Dean Thexton (2), Matty Moffat (2) and Michael Brown.

Willington manager Rob Lee said; “We played some good possession football in the first half, and our experience shone through in the second half.”

Durham manager Billy Harper said; “It was the same as the previous game we played a fortnight ago, a lot of the ball around the full pitch even in the final third but Willington's experience in front of goal was the difference on the day. Lots of positives from our lads and the attitude collectively is that we will get results soon.” Durham are now 14 points adrift of third bottom Esh Winning.

Tow Law had a good 4-2 away win at Washington, after being 2-0 down at one point. Dale Milburn (2) and Callam Hassan (2) scored their goals.

Tow Law manager Steve Murray said; “After going 0-2 to two wonder strikes, I thought it wasn't going to be our day, but a rousing second half was much appreciated.”

Second bottom Brandon lost 3-1 at home to West Allotment after the visitors went 2-0 up in the first 20 minutes. Michael Haley scored Brandon’s goal in the last minute.

In the other games, league leaders Billingham Town are now ten points clear and unbeaten in 21 league games after they won 2-1 at Ryton and Crawcrook, while Redcar Athletic beat Easington 3-1.

Spennymoor’s home game against Boston in the National League North was postponed because of a waterlogged pitch.

In the EvoStik League Premier, a late goal by David Foley gave South Shields a late point at Lancaster City, while Whitby beat Gainsborough 1-0.

In the EvoStik League East, Marske drew 0-0 at AFC Mansfield.