Bishop Auckland kept their promotion challenge well on course with a convincing 5-1 win over Whitley Bay at Heritage Park on Saturday.

Bishops maybe didn’t hit top form, but their five-goal blast keeps them four points behind Dunston having played a game more, but more importantly three ahead of third placed Consett. Finishing second might yet win a promotion place, depending on the decisions of the FA at the end of the season.

Bishop Auckland manager Ian Chandler enjoyed the victory against his old club and said; “It was a good result, even though I thought that we weren’t as fluent as we have been in other games this season during the first half because of the three week lay off. Maybe 3-1 flattered us at half time.

“But in the second half I thought we controlled the game a lot better.

“We have nine games left – we must keep winning and keep the pressure on the teams around us. It’s just a pity that Dunston won at Consett. We’re looking now to consolidate a top two place.”

Bishops took the lead after just four minutes with an effort by Shaun Ryder, but Whitley levelled with a header by Olly Martin.

However, Bishops regained the lead when Darren Richardson headed in a Michael Hoganson corner, then former Whitley midfielder Kyle Fryatt ran through and scored the third.

Bishops keeper Nick Liversedge made a couple of good saves before half time, and midway through the second half Andy Johnson tucked in a penalty after Fryatt was brought down. He quickly made it 5-1 when he broke clear and knocked the ball past the keeper.

Newton Aycliffe came back from two goals down to draw 2-2 at Stockton Town.

The home side led with goals by Nathan Mulligan and Adam Nicholson by midway through the second half but Kurt Matthews lobbed the Stockton keeper to pull a goal back, and then Aaron Brown headed the equaliser with a minute left.

Newton Aycliffe manager Colin Stromsoy said; “It was a great point against an excellent team right on top of their league form. A draw was a fair result, we played exceptionally well in the second half and took the game to Stockton, scored two good goals and forced some good saves as well.

“Stockton were always dangerous especially on deadball situations. The character and attitude of the team to come back from 2-0 down was outstanding. Most importantly we have made some solid progress in the last few games – that’s four points from two very hard league games.”

West Auckland were held to a 3-3 draw at Hebburn, a week after they won 2-0 there in the FA Vase.

They were ahead three times in the game, with goals by Amar Purewal (penalty), David Dowson and Adam Mitchell (penalty), with Louis Storey, Luke Sullivan and Graeme Armstrong in turn equalising. Purewal missed another penalty 2-2, while West had defender Liam Hegarty dismissed midway through the second half.

Mitchell’s penalty was in the second minute of stoppage time, but they couldn’t hold on to the lead.

West Auckland manager Gary Forrest said; “We deserved to win the game, ref made some poor decisions today. With 20 seconds to go you should win the game.”

Shildon had a bad day, losing 3-2 at home to ten-man Sunderland RCA.

Kyle Davis put RCA in front but then he was sent off for elbowing Shildon defender Matty Robson. However, Mark Davison scored with a powerful shot for 2-0, and in the second half he scored another. RCA keeper Scott Pocklington, who didn’t join his team mates in the dressing room at half time, failed to hold on to a cross allowing Ben Trotter to score and pull one back for Shildon, then late in the game Aiden Heywood scored another.

In the other first division matches, leaders Dunston came from 2-1 down to win 4-2 at Consett. Newcastle Benfield won 1-0 at Ashington, and third bottom Seaham won 2-1 at North Shields. Whickham won the game between the bottom two against Penrith by 2-1 There was a major surprise in the second division when bottom club Durham City won only their third game of the season with a 2-1 victory league leaders Billingham Town, Anthony Chapman scoring a dramatic late winner. Ellis Wymer put Durham in the lead earlier, with Lee McPhillips equalising.

Durham manager Billy Harper said; “That result has been coming in a number of games lately, we defended superbly and attacked quickly. Billingham certainly had more of the possession but tactically we got it exactly right. Let's be honest you have to do that when you are playing a top of the league team at any level. I was proud of our young side to a man and I've no doubt if we keep this group of players together and get our injured players back, we stand a good chance of competing against anyone in the division which Saturday showed to be true.”

Third placed Chester-le-Street were beaten 1-0 at Thornaby, who are now just two points behind Billingham Town. Thornaby sub Kyran Clark scored the winner after 75 minutes.

Chester-le-Street manager Colin Wake said; “We battled well in a game of two halves. We created two excellent chances first half and didn't punish them, and we lost to a sloppy set piece goal from a corner in the second half when Thornaby improved.

Chester are now 14 points behind Thornaby, and crossing their fingers that third place will mean promotion.

Crook Town damaged Northallerton’s promotion prospects with a 5-0 win at the Millfield for their fifth successive win.

Crook were 3-0 up inside the first 15 minutes with goals by Jake Petitjean (2) and Joseph Smith, and in the second half Smith scored another with Jack Proctor putting through his own goal.

Manager Jamie Tunstall said; “It was probably as convincing a performance as we've had so far this season. The lads are confident at the minute and things are going our way. Another really pleasing performance.”

Esh Winning were beaten 3-2 at Heaton Stannington, who now go above Northallerton into fourth. They led with a goal by Nick Marley, and after the Stan came back to lead 2-1, Joe Mole pulled Esh level. But the home side scored the winner with six minutes remaining.

Willington were held to a 1-1 draw at home by Brandon. New signing Jonathan Wright put Willington into the lead, but Jack Carr equalised to give Brandon a point.

Tow Law drew 3-3 with West Allotment after being 3-1 up at one point. Dan Kirkup and josh Scott put them 2-0 up, with Dean Walker replying. Matty Pennal made it 3-1 at the start of the second half, but Allotment hit back to equalise.

Tow Law manager Steve Murray said; “It was a game that had everything, and it was a fair result.”

In the other second division games, Billingham Synthonia easily beat Jarrow 4-0, while Redcar had a good 4-1 away win at Ryton and Crawcrook. Easington and Bedlington drew 2-2, and Birtley won their local derby 3-0 at Washington.