Bishop Auckland are right in the thick of the title race after they won 1-0 at leaders Dunston UTS on Saturday with ten men.

Bishops played more than half the game a man down after Darren Richardson was shown a straight red for a tackle, and then they held on to a penalty by Andrew Johnson to end Dunston’s 17 game unbeaten league record.

Manager Ian Chandler said; “It was a great result and performance. We dominated throughout but made it a little harder when Darren Richardson was sent off dead on half time. I thought the challenge looked worse than what it was.

“The second half continued as the first -- we dominated with 10 men. I expected more attacking-wise from Dunston which didn’t materialise. Nick Liversedge in our goal had zero saves to make. I was delighted with how we managed the game especially second half as we went for the win. Dunston are a good resilient team and very hard to beat, but I think we deserved the win. We controlled the game.

“We have a big game at Consett this Saturday, but Dunston are still the team to beat for the title.”

Bishops had some good chances in the first half. Chris Winn was unlucky not to score in the first minute, then Dunston keeper Karl Dryden pulled off a good save from Kyle Fryatt.

Kieran Galbraith hit the bar midway through the half, before Richardson was sent off for a foul on Tom Bexton.

But Bishops stayed in the game and were awarded a penalty for handball – which Dunston furiously protested against when defender Dan Capewell blocked a Shaun Ryder shot in a crowded penalty area – and Johnson scored from the spot.

West Auckland were held to a 2-2 draw at home by Ryhope CW to leave them in sixth place.

West were 2-0 down at one point to goals by Adam Cocks and Robbie Bird, but West pulled a goal back when Adam Mitchell crossed for Amar Purewal to head in.

Ryhope had striker Jack Devlin dismissed, and with five minutes left, Tom Portas levelled in a goalmouth scramble.

Manager Gary Forrest said; “The lads did what we asked, dug in, and showed character when two goals down.”

Newton Aycliffe also drew 2-2, at Whitley Bay.

Andrei Ardelean put Whitley into the lead just after half time, but then Kurt Matthews scored twice in three minutes for Aycliffe.

Olly Martin levelled for Whitley from the spot seven minutes from the end.

Newton Aycliffe manager Deano Browne said; “We were second best for probably an hour or so in the game having to make a couple of early changes due to injuries. We looked leggy after playing a tough game in poor conditions on Boxing Day. The lads dug in and did brilliant to get back into the game and they’re disappointed they didn't hold on for all 3 points after going 2-1 up.”

In the other first division games, Consett are now top after they beat bottom club Penrith 4-0 at Belle View. Stockton’s James Risbrough scored a hat trick in their 3-1 home win over Ashington, while Guisborough were beaten 2-1 at home by Newcastle Benfield after being 1-0 up at one stage.

In the second division, third placed Northallerton were held to a 2-2 draw at home by Tow Law. Dale Milburn put Tow Law in front, but Elliot McGlade and Nicky Martin hit back for Northallerton. But the home side’s hopes of stretching their 100 per cent home record to ten games were dashed when Lewis Martin equalised three minutes from the end.

Northallerton manager Darren Trotter said; “We have no complaints. We created enough chances to win a number of games – with good movement and work rate -- it was all there. You just have days like that when you can't score. I have seen us lose from those positions in the past.

“We are on a good run still unbeaten in ten matches at home, so we have a lot of positives to take into the new year.”

Tow Law manager Steve Murray said; “We’re the first team to take league points from Yorkshire so we’ve got to be happy.”

Chester-le-Street lost ground on the top three when they were easily beaten 4-0 at home by Billingham Town, who are unbeaten in 23 league matches this season and are now ten points clear at the top.

Chester-le-Street manager Colin Wake said; “It was men against boys in all departments. We never got going all afternoon and Billingham definitely deserved the win. We defended poorly as a side and made individual mistakes which were punished and truth be told it could have been by a heavier margin but for our young 17 year old goalkeeper Aaron Steavans.”

Esh Winning lost 3-0 at home to second placed Thornaby, although the visitors scored twice late in the game.

Esh Winning manager Tony Boakes said; “We could have been 3 or 4 up at half time but didn’t take our chances. Their keeper should have been sent off and we had a goal disallowed. Two late goals flattered them.”

Durham are still rock bottom and 14 points adrift of third bottom Esh after losing 2-0 at home to West Allotment.

Durham manager Billy Harper said; “It was a poor performance by us, the decision-making in critical areas was lacking. I can’t say we deserved anything from the game as we didn't. Our worst performance since we have been here. However the trust in us all to get this right is still strong.”

Brandon are still second bottom after losing 3-0 at home to West Allotment.

Crook Town had a bad day, losing 5-2 at Bedlington, Jamie Harwood and Callum Johnston scoring their goals.