Bishop Auckland 1-1 West Auckland Town
Rhys Porter delivered a devastating blow to West Auckland Town to rescue a late point for Bishop Auckland in a competitive derby clash at Heritage Park.
Alex Francis’ stunning strike on 14 minutes was cancelled out via Porter’s instinctive finish with nine minutes remaining as Bishop inflicted Deja vu on Gary Forrest’s side following the previous encounter at the Wanted Stadium back in September.
Moments before Porter dealt a sucker punch, Amar Purewal saw his penalty hit the post as West missed out on a fourth consecutive victory away from home in all competitions.
The result leaves West in ninth in the Northern League Division One table, six points behind fifth-placed Sunderland RCA while Bishop climb up to second, moving above Consett on goal difference with a game in hand.
In damp conditions, West had the first sight at goal within the opening eight minutes in the Auckland derby when Ross Colquhoun’s through ball found Liam Hegarty on the right, who cut inside and swung it in towards Purewal with the latter unable to direct his header on target.
However six minutes later, Forrest’s side made their pressure count and took the lead with a well worked team move, starting with Jamie Cobain, who played in Anthony Bell before finding Adam Mitchell – some good footwork allowed the winger to pick out Francis and from 25-yards out, his right-footed shot curled in off the post leaving Gareth Young rooted to the spot.
Bishop went close to equalising on two occasions at the end of the first-half. First, Michael Hoganson fired just past Shane Bland’s left-hand post and shortly after, former West forward Arran Wearmouth came inches away from levelling proceedings as his strike from outside the area flew narrowly wide as Ian Chandler’s side began to look more dangerous.
More exceptional goalkeeping from Young after the interval prevented West doubling their lead – two close-range headers within a matter of minutes from Purewal were precisely kept out following deliveries from Bell and substitute David Dowson.
On 78 minutes, West were awarded a penalty when Dowson was brought down by Thomas Bott inside the area – from the resulting spot-kick, Purewal stepped up and crashed his effort against the outside of the post in what was a huge opportunity for Forrest’s side to seal a significant victory in the Auckland derby.
And just three minutes later, that paved the way for Bishop to punish their local rivals as Christopher Winn’s left-sided cross was punched by Bland inadvertently into the path of Porter, who remained composed to grab his first goal for the Two Blues and send the home supporters into a buoyant mood as West agonisingly missed out on bragging rights.
West look to get back to winning ways this Saturday with a home tie against Ashington A.F.C (15:00).
Bishop Auckland – Young, Hoganson, Munro, Winn, Bott, Ryder (Porter, 76), Fryatt (Robinson, 64), Gibbons, Wearmouth, Johnson (c), Richardson (Marshall, 64)
Goal – Porter (81)
West Auckland – Bland, Hegarty (Burnicle, 86), Mitchell, Cobain, Colquhoun, Portas (Dowson, 63), Francis, Dodds (c), Purewal, Snaith, Bell (Morris, 76)
Goal – Francis (14)
Subs not used – Connor, Coulson
Referee – Glen Hart
Attendance – 359
Report by Harry Crowe