Northern League Bishop Auckland look as if they’re playing for second place now after they were beaten 2-0 at Sunderland RCA on Saturday.

Bishops went into the game four points behind leaders Dunston UTS, but their defeat at Sunderland and Dunston’s home win over Whickham means that they have dropped further behind, having played a game more.

Manager Ian Chandler said; “Our players did ok, but they didn’t stand out, and they need to be better than that.

“There’s still a long way to go, and Dunston have some tricky games to play, but we must make sure that we win our matches.”

It was also Bishops’ second defeat against RCA this season, which also ended a run of 14 unbeaten matches.

Colin Larkin put RCA into the lead, and Bishops went 2-0 down when keeper Kieran Proctor, who came on for the injured Nick Liversedge, fired a clearance against Mark Davison and the ball bounced into the net.

Bishops though, believed that they should have had two penalties in the rest of the game.

Elsewhere in the first division, Whitley Bay manager Mick Mulhern left his job only hours after they were hammered 9-0 at home by Hebburn.

Seaham Red Star climbed out of the bottom three by beating Ashington 4-3, while Penrith won their first home league game of the season by 3-1 against Stockton Town.

Newcastle Benfield, now managed by Stuart Elliott, won 3-1 at North Shields, and Guisborough lost 2-1 at home to Ryhope CW.

In the second division, Northallerton just managed to scrape past Heaton Stannington thanks to a second half goal by Kerry Hedley, and climb into third in the table.

Chester-le-Street’s top three hopes suffered a big blow when they were beaten 4-0 at home by Crook Town, who have now won six in a row, scoring 25 goals in the process. Jake Petitjean put them into the lead after 10 minutes, then Kevin Dixon put through his own goal for the second.

Liam Jarvie and Chris Dunwell scored in the second half.

Crook manager Jamie Tunstall said; “It was another really pleasing result. I can't give enough credit to the lads who continue to put a shift in week to week. They're giving everything each week and playing some really good football. Chester is a tough place to come so to come away with a win, a comprehensive win and a clean sheet to boot is very pleasing.”

Chester manager Colin Wake said; “It was a very disappointing performance and deservedly we got nothing out of the game. We could and should have been one if not two up inside the first ten minutes but after that it was all Crook and they ran out easy winners. “ Tow Law went to leaders Billingham Town, and even though they were level 1-1 at one stage, were beaten 4-1. Mattie Soulsby scored for Lawyers, whose manager Steve Murray said; “We were beaten by a very good side, no complaints.” Lawyers have dropped to third from bottom.

Esh Winning pulled well away from the bottom two courtesy of a 5-1 home win over Easington, one of their best performances of the season. Nick Marley scored a hat trick, with Joe Mole and Glenn Donaldson getting the other goals.

Esh Winning manager Tony Boakes said; “It was a fantastic effort from us. The whole team put in 100% and we got a great result.”

Second bottom Brandon suffered a terrible defeat, their worst for several seasons, by 9-0 away at Redcar to leave them eleven points behind third bottom.

In the other games, Thornaby stayed two points behind leaders Billingham Town with a 2-0 away win at West Allotment.