DUNSTON UTS suffered only their second defeat in 18 games – a result which cost them the leadership of the STL Northern League First Division.
Bishop Auckland had already caused one or two upsets before they arrived on Tyneside, and two goals in eight minutes from Daniel Hawkins and Darren Richardson set them up for another. Although Anthony Hume threw UTS a 76th-minute lifeline, Bishops held on and are now in seventh position.
West Auckland Town regained pole position with a comfortable victory at Billingham Synthonia, where they led through Alex Francis (pen), Adam Nichols and Danny Hindmarsh before Nathan Jameson claimed a stoppage-time consolation for the hosts.
Whitley Bay remain third despite losing at Newton Aycliffe, who claimed an 87th-minute winner from Elliott Gardner.
Dale Jardine broke the deadlock on 71 minutes; after Robert Dale’s equaliser, it seemed the Seahorses would claim a point until Gardner became the home side’s hero.
Twice-champions Spennymoor Town are looking good in their bid for a hat-trick. They romped to victory in the top five clash at Sunderland RCA, where they were four goals ahead courtesy of Gavin Barton, Gavin Cogden, Adam Johnston and Craig Ruddy before Lee Owens converted a late penalty for the Wearsiders.
At the other end of the table, Stokesley SC, with one point from 19 games, took Newcastle Benfield to the wire before going down to an only goal by Michael Chilton.
Tow Law Town are second from the basement and they conceded five first-half goals to Bedlington Terriers’ Anthony Shandran (3), Stephen Richardson and Stephen Stewart.
In the late stages Greg Halliday and Mark Nixon replied with consolation goals for the Lawyers.
Ashington, with several games in hand on all the sides above them, moved into the top half with victory at Marske United, who led with a Danny Brunskill penalty.
Jamie Clarke – proving an inspired signing – added to his goals’ tally and Andrew Johnson struck the winner.
Consett just edged South Shields in a seven-goals thriller at Belle Vue Park. A defensive mix-up between goalkeeper Jake Cunningham and Adam Scope led to the Steelmen’s opening goal.
Michael Mackay, Dale Burrell and Marc Walton took their team’s tally to four with David Colvin (2) and Lee Bell replying. There was another 4-3 result at Shildon where Jarrow Roofing came out on top.
David Malloy, Aristote Guerin Lakonga and Josh Allen (2) netted with Danny Richmond, Wayne Gredziak and Chris Hughes on target for Shildon, who are not the side they were last season.
In Division Two, the three leading sides before kick-off all lost.
Team Northumbria went down at Darlington RA thanks to Graeme Whitehead (2) and Nick Harrison. Liam Clough had equalised.
Team stay top with Whickham second, despite losing at Morpeth Town who were two goals up inside 20 minutes via Stephen Anderson (pen) and David Dormand. Graeme King was the Glebemen’s scorer.
North Shields dropped out of the top three after their superb 12-match unbeaten sequence was ended by Gillford Park for whom Marc Shiel (2) and James Earl struck.
Mark Rasmussen and Paul Gordon replied for the Robins whose goalkeeper Michael Robinson almost snatched a last-minute equaliser when his header hit the woodwork.
Birtley Town were the side to benefit from their rivals’ defeats. Lee Newby and Craig Nichol fired Esh Winning in front but a strong second-half performance earned Scott Oliver’s team three crucial points as Daniel Smart (2) and Andrew McIntosh found the net. Birtley are now third.
Chris Willis earned Alnwick Town a point at Whitehaven, who equalised through Lee Dunn, and an only goal from Kraig Wilkinson was sufficient for Ryton and Crawcrook Albion at home to West Allotment Celtic.