Bishop Auckland manager Ian Chandler has told his players not to let the season slip away after they were surprisingly beaten 5-3 at home by bottom club Penrith on Saturday.

Bishops’ title hopes have all but disappeared now because league leaders Dunston beat West Auckland, but Chandler says that second place can still be theirs – if they regain their form.

“Second place is still there to win or lose, fortunately other results went in our favour on Saturday,” he said. “We need to sort ourselves out and get ourselves a couple of good results. We need to find the form that we had not so long ago. We mustn’t let the season slip away – anything less than second isn’t acceptable as far as I’m concerned.

“I warned the players about their centre forward, who scored three times. We’ve beaten ourselves.”

Bishops never recovered from going three goals down in the first half hour. Kieran Galbraith put a left-wing cross into his own net, then Martyn Coleman fired past Kieran Proctor in the Bishops goal. Matty Clarke fired the third for Penrith, before Bishops pulled a goal back with an Andy Johnson penalty for a foul on Chris Winn.

Michael Hoganson pulled another goal back from a free kick that was helped in by a defender, for 3-2, but Coleman dashed Bishops’ hopes with a shot into the top corner, then he completed his hat trick with another good goal. Chris Winn pulled one back with a header with three minutes left.

The game was halted briefly in the second half with the score at 2-3 because of a fire alert in the clubhouse that was promptly dealt with by the fire services. Play was held up for around ten minutes.

Bishops are still two points clear of third place, because Consett lost 3-0 at Shildon.

Zak Atkinson intercepted a back pass to put Shildon into the lead, then Atkinson set up Aaron Duell to run through and score the second before half time.

Atkinson created the third midway through the second half when he won the ball on the left and crossed for Billy Greulich-Smith to head home.

Shildon manager Bobby Moore said; “Reaching the Durham Challenge Cup final has given us a big lift, and it showed. I thought we were very comfortable. Everyone was on top form.”

A date and a venue have yet to be set for the Durham Challenge Cup final.

West Auckland lost 1-0 at league leaders Dunston, who are now ten points clear at the top.

They more than held their own until the 63rd minute, when Mark Fitzpatrick scored the winner with a powerful shot.

West Auckland manager Gary Forrest said; “The lads worked hard, but we are lacking a cutting edge. I can't fault the effort and desire. Anthony Bell played 20 minutes which was a massive plus after his injury.”

Newton Aycliffe salvaged a 1-1 draw with Ashington thanks to a goal ten minutes from time.

Wayne Buchanan put Ashington into the lead after just 5 minutes, but a better second half performance by Aycliffe was rewarded with an equaliser by Ben Wood near the end.

Aycliffe had to play the last ten minutes with only ten men after third sub Warren Byrne went off injured.

Newton Aycliffe manager Colin Stromsoy said; “Ashington had one shot on goal all game and scored. We were very poor first half and only created a few chances, one was outstanding when Ethan Wood should have scored. Second half we were much better and totally dominated the game. They've cleared two off the line. We deserved three points on chance creation and possession but if you don't convert, you ultimately rarely take the three points.”

In the other games, Stockton are now up to sixth after beating Whickham 4-2 at Bishopton Road West, but Guisborough were beaten 3-1 at Newcastle Benfield.

Hebburn beat Sunderland RCA 3-2, while Seaham Red Star climbed further away from the bottom three with a 2-0 home win over North Shields.

In the second division, Northallerton are now four points clear in third place after they won 2-1 at Easington.

Aaron Ramsbottom gave them the lead, but new signing Josh Home-Jackson levelled for Easington. Brennan Ball put a Richie Walker cross into his own goal for the winner.

Fourth placed Chester-le-Street were held to a goalless draw at Heaton Stannington.

Manager Colin Wake said; “A workman-like performance but far from perfect. A lot of defensive frailty and too many players struggling for form at the present time, so to come away with a point is hopefully a step in the right direction.”

Crook Town’s six game winning run came to an end when they were held to a 1-1 draw by West Allotment.

Jake Petitjean gave Crook the lead after just 2 minutes, but Matthew Hayton levelled from the spot in the second minute of stoppage time.

Crook Town manager Jamie Tunstall said; “I think based on the game a draw was probably a fair result. West Allotment had more of the ball, and we weren't quite at our best. Despite that we're desperately disappointed not to take all three points and to concede in the 92nd minute. We've come unstuck a few times this season where we could have managed the game better but we're a young group and we're still learning. “ Tow Law climbed three places with a comfortable 3-0 home win over bottom club Durham City, with Dan Kirkup, Matty Pennal and Dale Milburn scoring the goals.

Durham manager Billy Harper said; “It was a very poor performance from us. It was lacklustre from many of the players and we got exactly what we deserved.”

Tow Law manager Steve Murray said; “Comfortable win, clean sheet, good performance.”

Durham are now 18 points away from third bottom, with ten games remaining.

In the other games, Thornaby won the top of the table clash against Billingham Town by 2-1 to put them top by a point having played a game more.

Redcar won 3-0 at Bedlington to put them sixth in the table, while Billingham Synthonia won 3-1 at Washington.