Billingham Town 0, Newton Aycliffe 1
By Dave Strickland
Newton Aycliffe travelled to Teesside and had to work really hard to beat a determined Billingham Town side 1-0.
Aycliffe started the match without leading goalscorer Dean Thexton due to injury, so Liam Jarvie and Johnson Ballan led the line.
Aycliffe weren’t at their best in the first half and couldn’t get their passing game going.
Billingham had the better of the early exchanges and had a couple of half chances.
Nick Green made a great last-ditch tackle in the 14th minute, but got injured in doing so. He was replaced by Connor Phelan. Aycliffe cleared the ball off their own line from the corner that followed.
Billingham continued to apply pressure but didn’t really trouble Aycliffe keeper Max Metcalfe on his debut. Bartliff hit a shot high and wide from a good position and Hogan hit a shot straight at Metcalfe.
Aycliffe had a good chance themselves on 35 minutes when Liam Jarvie wriggled through a couple of tackles and played a perfect cross into the six yard box. The players in support couldn’t quite reach the ball for what would have been a simple tap-in.
Aycliffe reorganised at half time; they had to replace the injured Marc Costello, Matty Lowrie coming on.
Aycliffe were much better in the second half and got their passing game going.
They went ahead on 61 minutes when a corner from Lewis Walton was headed in by Liam McNamara. That fired Aycliffe up and they were on top after that.
Three minutes later Walton bent a free kick around the defensive wall, only for Billingham keeper Young to produce a fine save. Shaun Ryder then sent a shot just over the bar.
Billingham resorted to a high ball game late on in order to get an equaliser; they had a couple of half chances with headers but the Aycliffe defence stood firm to take the three points, with man-of-the match McNamara outstanding.
Aycliffe are away to Brandon United in the Durham Challenge Cup on Wednesday (October 23, 7.45pm) followed by a league trip to Bishop Auckland on Saturday (October 26, 3pm).