Bishop Auckland manager Ian Chandler was delighted with a point from a goalless draw in their top three clash at Consett on Saturday.

Bishops went into the game on the back of a 1-0 win at previous leaders Dunston UTS last week, but on this occasion they had to scrap more for a point which keeps them well in the title race, especially with Dunston losing at Whitley Bay.

“We were delighted with the point, “said Chandler. “We were a little off our normal high standards and with Shaun Ryder and Chris Winn both playing full of cold, it showed, even though they put in a great shift but looked a little leggy.

Nick Liversedge had a great game saving several gilt-edged chances. It was a point gained rather than two lost.”

Liversedge pulled off the first of several good saves in the opening minutes, while Aksel Juul also hit the bar twice for Consett.

Michael Hoganson went close for Bishops with a free kick before half time, then Andy Johnson was denied by Consett keeper Kyle Hayes.

Liversedge made two more good saves before Shaun Ryder was denied by a superb Hayes save.

Bishops are now just a point behind second placed Dunston, and still four behind Consett.

Newton Aycliffe were well beaten 5-1 at home by Stockton Town.

Chris Stockton, Max Craggs and Adam Nicholson put Stockton 3-0 up before Jermaine Metz briefly fired Aycliffe back into the game, only for Craggs and Sonni Coleman to sore further goals.

Newton Aycliffe manager Deano Browne said; “We were second best from the first whistle. We had a 20-minute spell in the 2nd half and that was it. Stockton fully deserved their win.”

Shildon lost 4-3 at home to Ryhope CW and finished the game with nine men after the dismissals of Marc Ellison and player-manager Danny Moore.

Ellison was dismissed for two yellows which led to Ryhope scoring their fourth goal, while Moore was sent off after converting a penalty and an incident that followed.

James Ellis twice put Ryhope into the lead, but Aiden Heywood and Billy Greulich-Smith equalised.

But Micky Rae scored with spot kicks for Ryhope 4-2, and Moore pulled one back with a penalty at the other end before being sent off.

In the other first division games, Dunston lost their second successive game when they were beaten 3-2 at Whitley Bay, while North Shields won 1-0 at Ashington. Guisborough moved away from the relegation zone by thumping bottom club Penrith 5-0.

In the second division, Brandon nearly pulled off one of the surprises of the season when they led 4-2 at unbeaten leaders Billingham Town with just four minutes remaining, but Town hit back for a point, equalising with a late penalty. Ben Joyeux (2), Niall Fingleton and Lee Blades scored for Brandon, who are now seven points behind third bottom Esh Winning.

Northallerton easily beat bottom club Durham City 4-0 to stay in third place, three points behind Thornaby. Richie Walker and Damon Reaks both scored a goal in each half, while Durham keeper Joe Wilson had a blinder.

Northallerton manager Darren Trotter said; “We controlled the game from start to finish. It was disappointing that we did not score more which would help the goal difference, but the Durham goalkeeper was resilient and pulled off some really good saves that frustrated us.”

Durham manager Billy Harper said; “We had many players missing for the game and played a promotion-pushing team. I thought we struggled with positivity for much of the first half, but I thought our second half performance was much more creditable. We still need to be more experienced in certain aspects of the game, however, but we can’t complain with the result or the performance from our depleted squad overall.”

Chester-le-Street stayed on Northallerton’s heels in fourth with a 2-1 away victory at Esh Winning. Kieran Megran and Joe Hailes put Chester 2-0 up by the 83rd minute, with Nick Marley replying.

Chester-le-Street manager Colin Wake said; “It was a messy game which we shaded. There was plenty of endeavour from both sides but a lack of real quality apart from our winning goal. We gave away another poor goal to make the last seven minutes more nervous than they should have been but in the end three well-earned points.”

Esh Winning manager Tony Boakes said; “We were unlucky in a good close game. Against a top side, we were very positive.”

Willington are still on the fringe of the promotion race after they won a thriller 4-3 against Redcar Athletic, with Matty Moffat scoring the winner late in the game.

After Sam Calvert gave Redcar the lead, new signing Kieran Parnaby levelled for Willington. Moffat and Dean Thexton in turn put Willington into the lead, with Gary Wood and Adam Preston equalising.

Willington manager Rob Lee said; “It was a very competitive game, with Matty Moffat scoring our winner with a fantastic individual goal to take all 3 points.”

Crook Town were beaten 2-1 at home by Billingham Synthonia at the Millfield.

Crook led through Chris Dunwell after 12 minutes, but a great goal by Ben Pollock pulled Synners level with a good individual goal, then Kallum Hannah scored the winner with a free kick.

Crook manager Jamie Tunstall said; “I was desperately disappointed for the lads. I thought we played really well for large spells of the game and put lots of effort in, enough to warrant at least a point. The first goal is typical of our luck at the moment. We'll be fine if we continue to play as we did on Saturday.”

Tow Law lost 2-1 at home to Ryton and Crawcrook. Scott Jasper and Rob Norris put Ryton ahead, before Callum Hassan pulled a goal back.

Tow Law manager Steve Murray said; “It was a poor game played out by two average sides judging on this performance.”

In the other games second placed Thornaby beat Washington 4-2 at Teesdale Park, while Heaton Stannington drew 2-2 with Jarrow.