By Glen Robertson
Newton Aycliffe travel to Ashington at the weekend as they look to build on Tuesday night’s draw at South Shields.
But the Newtonians will have their work cut out against one of the division’s top sides, especially with two players sitting out through suspension.
Dan Mellanby and James Oliver start their three game bans after both being sent-off in the FA Vase victory over Willington three weeks ago.
Mark Peck and Scott Pocklington will be available, with their suspensions not starting for another two weeks and two-and-a-half weeks respectively.
Allan Oliver will likely stick with the same front three as Tuesday night in Mellanby’s absence after Kris Hughes, Danny Lambert and Danny Earl caused all sorts of problems to the South Shields rearguard. Skipper Sean Tarling returns to the midfield, though Adrian Webster, Martin Young and Stuart Owen all performed admirably in the centre at Filtrona Park in midweek, giving Oliver a welcome selection headache ahead of a tough fixture.
Ashington was the scene of one of Aycliffe’s most exciting away days last season, as 10-man Aycliffe fought back from two goals down with two minutes left to snatch an unbelievable 2-2 draw.
Tarling was dismissed in the first half, but his best-mate and stand-in skipper Darren Craddock rescued the team with a stoppage time header to grab an unlikely point.
A 2-2 draw would do the club nicely again this time round. The Colliers are a formidable side on their day and are well funded after last year’s run to the fourth qualifying round of the FA Cup, where they were beaten by former Football League outfit Grimsby.
The Colliers have suffered from a poor away record this season – three defeats from four – but at home only Spennymoor have beaten them, and even then they managed to become the first team to score past the reigning champions this season.
Striker Marc Walton has scored 10 league goals already this season – two more than Aycliffe have managed between them – and will pose a massive threat to Craddock and Peck in the Aycliffe back-line.
The game kicks off at 3pm at Woodhorn Lane, Ashington, NE63 9FW.