Newton Aycliffe’s joint-manager Deano Browne says his team is proving the doubters wrong after a 1-1 draw at Jarrow Roofing put them into the top ten.
Aycliffe reached the semi-finals of the Durham Challenge Cup last week, and the team is picking up momentum again, which isn’t a bad achievement after the departure of previous manager Peter Dixon and several players two months ago.
“We have a got a good group of lads who have a real desire to prove people wrong and they have lots of quality but never been given an opportunity like this before,” he said. “Four or five of the team have never played at this standard before and they are doing really well. We have a good mix of experience, desire and youthfulness.
“It was a good point at a Jarrow side that is probably in a false position. Roofing were the better of the two sides towards the end of the game but couldn’t break our defence down.”
Aycliffe got off to a good start when Jamie Owens netted after Stuart Banks headed against the bar, and after Aycliffe keeper Phil Pentony pulled off two good saves, former Aycliffe striker Dennis Knight broke through and chipped Pentony for the equaliser.
Roofing had plenty of pressure in the second half, but Pentony and Aycliffe kept them out.
Bishop Auckland lost ground on the leaders and dropped to sixth when they lost 2-1 at Whitley Bay.
They missed a couple of chances before Stuart Thompson forced a miskick out of a defender on a bobbly pitch, and Andre Bennett pounced to net.
But within three minutes Whitley levelled when Andy Robertson scored from the rebound after Callum Patton’s shot was blocked.
Scott Pocklington kept Bishops level with a great save, but he had no chance midway through the second half when Alex Kempster tapped in a Kyle Patton cross from a couple of yards.
West Auckland couldn’t handle South Shields striker David Foley, who scored four times as second placed Shields beat them 5-0.
Shields took the lead on the half hour mark through Foley from a Michael Richardson cross, then former West player Robbie Briggs fired the second from the edge of the box.
Foley scored the third after Dillon Morse nodded down a corner kick, and he completed his hat-trick from a Carl Finnigan pass, before rounding it off.
Leaders North Shields are still 11 points clear at the top thanks to a 2-1 win at Penrith, their tenth successive victory.
They took the lead on 57 minutes when the Penrith keeper spilled a Curtis Coppen shot, and Ryan Carr scored from the rebound.
Dean Holmes created the chance for Craig McFarlane to score the second, before Robbie Hebson pulled a goal back.
West Allotment won the basement battle against Chester-le-Street by a single goal, to lift them off the bottom of the table, their first win in 11.
Michael Hall scored the goal that mattered with a header from a corner, but Lee Mole missed an easy chance for an equaliser before half time.
Third-bottom Guisborough picked a point in a goalless draw at Washington, but they needed all three, as they are still eight points adrift of safety.
Consett lost 3-1 at home to Dunston UTS. Liam Thear gave Dunston a second-minute lead, before Consett were forced to change keepers, with Sam Guthrie going off injured. Luke Sullivan levelled from a Max Craggs pass, but Dunston who used all their substitutes for injuries before half-time, took the lead through former Consett player Dale Burrell.
Warren Byrne got the third near the end to give Dunston their seventh away win.
Marske United beat Seaham Red Star 2-1 at Mount Pleasant. They took the lead when Curtis Round fired in off the post from the edge of the box, but David Palmer levelled.
Danny Earl and Peter Bulmer both went close for Marske before Glen Butterworth fired the winner with nine minutes left.
Sunderland RCA let a two-goal lead slip, and they were beaten 3-2 at Ashington.
Liam McBryde fired them into a two-goal lead, but they fell apart in the second half.
Kyle Downey pulled a goal back from the spot, then Lee McAndrew equalised from a Dale Pearson assist.
With 12 minutes left, Ben Harmison headed the winner to give Ashington their first victory in seven.
Ryhope CW gained revenge for an 11-1 defeat at Newcastle Benfield earlier in the season by beating them 4-3.
Benfield twice took the lead through Paul Brayson, but Kyle Davis equalised twice.
Leon Ryan put Ryhope into the lead with a bullet header, and then Callum Munroe made it 4-2 from close range. John Campbell pulled a late goal back for Benfield who missed a chance to go eighth.
In the second division, Team Northumbria are the new leaders after they won 3-0 at Willington, with goals by Ben Dibb-Fuller (2) and Robert Spence.
Stockton Town’s game was called off at Blyth Town because of a waterlogged pitch.
Billingham Synthonia thumped Northallerton 7-1 at Central Avenue.
Nathan Mulligan put Synners into an early lead from the spot, then Joe Hillerby made it two. Conor Winter headed the third cross, and got another just before half time.
Josh Rowbotham headed the fifth, and Winter completed his hat-trick from an acute angle. Tom Atkinson pulled a goal back, but Macauley Langstaff blasted the fifth with five minutes left.
Durham City moved up to fourth with a 3-1 win at Crook Town.
Durham took the lead through Kieran Harnett, but Crook equalised through Christian Holliday. Jack Wilkie and Matthew Smith scored for Durham. Crook have signed former Darlington player Chris Emms.
In the battle to avoid the drop, Darlington RA picked up a point in a 1-1 draw at Easington. Shane O’Brien headed into his own goal to give the RA the lead, but Luke Page equalised with a shot that went in off the bar on 50 minutes.
Esh Winning are back on the bottom because they were beaten 3-0 at Whickham, for whom Mark Fitzpatrick, John Martin and Ross Peareth scored.
New signing Matty Moffat was on target as Tow Law beat third bottom Ryton and Crawcrook 4-0 at Ironworks Road. Dean Thexton and Jordan Lee (2) got the others.
Hebburn scored a late goal to give them the points over Thornaby. James Rowe gave Thornaby a first minute lead, but Craig Malley equalised and James Talbot scored the winner in the last minute. Thornaby have signed much-travelled striker Danny Brunskill from Billingham Synthonia, while Nathan Evans has returned to the club following a short spell at Team Northumbria.