West Auckland Town 1-1 Bishop Auckland
Gary Forrest’s side stretched their winless run to three matches after a 1-1 draw with local rivals Bishop Auckland on Saturday afternoon.
Amar Purewal’s header inside eight minutes was cancelled out by Christopher Winn’s solo effort 12 minutes later as both sides had to settle for a point in a fiery derby encounter.
The result sees West climb to the top of the Division One table on 18 points with goal difference separating the congested leader board.
With 474 supporters in attendance, there was an electric atmosphere at the Wanted Stadium prior to kick-off with the two sides set to collide for the umpteenth time.
Bishop started brighter and within the opening six minutes had two great opportunities to take the lead.
Firstly, Winn and Andrew Johnson combined well, only for the latter to curl his effort just past the far post.
Moments later, Darren Richardson found some space 12yards-out and side-footed inches wide.
West immediately came back fighting as Nathan Fisher unleashed a long-range strike which was parried by Nick Liversedge into the feet of Denver Morris, who squared it across the face of goal towards Purewal only to blaze his shot over the bar.
However, Purewal did make amends a minute later as Liam Hegarty made a bursting run on the right-hand side and whipped in a dangerous cross for the skipper to head past Liversedge and give West a dream start.
Bishop responded in the 20th minute when Winn made an encouraging run and outmuscled the host’s defence, keeping his composure and guiding his effort beyond Shane Bland and into the bottom right-corner.
Approaching the half-hour mark, West thought they regained the lead after Adam Mitchell’s free-kick crashed against the post only for Fisher to tap in the rebound though the linesman decided to rule it out for offside.
Before the interval, Hegarty went off injured following a late challenge near the halfway line from Callum Munro in which Arran Wearmouth was brought on to try and alter the game.
With the contest evenly poised, it was all set to be an intriguing second-half.
In the 55th minute, Bishop had a great chance to take the lead as Kyle Fryatt did well to cut inside and after finding some space, he could only blaze his effort high and wide.
Seven minutes later, Liversedge was called into action and had to be on full alert to deny Mitchell with West pushing for a winner.
Heading into the final 12 minutes, the visitors stuck to their game plan and frustrated West in keeping possession and almost went ahead themselves through Winn, who made a darting run before slicing the ball into the side netting.
With a frantic few seconds remaining, tempers started to flare from both sides as referee Craig Dean brought the game to a halt with the points deservedly shared.
Next up for West is another home tie against fourth place Hebburn Town on Saturday 29 September, 3pm.
West Auckland – Bland, Hegarty (Wearmouth, 34’), Cobain, McKeown, Colquhoun, Price, Morris, Snaith, Fisher (c), Purewal, Mitchell
Subs not used – Francis, Wood, Dodds, Connor
Goal – Purewal (8)
Bishop Auckland – Liversedge, Hoganson (K. Patton, 68’), Munro, Ryder, Galbraith, Gibbons, Fryatt, C. Patton (c), Winn, Johnson (Marshall, 64’), Richardson (Hart, 90+1’)
Subs not used – Short, Robinson
Goal – Winn (20)
Attendance – 474
Referee – Craig Dean
Report by Harry Crowe