Newton Aycliffe 2, Morpeth Town 1
Newton Aycliffe beat Northern League runaway leaders Morpeth Town at Moore Lane Park to stretch their unbeaten run to nine games.
After beating local rivals Shildon in their last outing on February 3 – which came off the back of five straight draws – the Newtonians were voted Team of the Week by the Northern League after narrowly beating Morpeth, who are still 19 points clear at the top of the table.
Aycliffe’s fine form has seen them climb up to 16th in the league table and away from the relegation places.
Saturday’s victory over Morpeth was played at a frantic pace throughout, with Aycliffe’s twice-weekly training regime paying dividends, as they were still going strong at the end of the game, as Morpeth tired.
Aycliffe started well and were rewarded when Jordan Jewson went on a mazy dribble, and after his shot was blocked, debutant Thibault Charmey followed up and fired it low into the corner via the post for 1-0.
But the lead only lasted two minutes, as Morpeth centre forward Henderson headed in a free-kick.
On 15 minutes Kurt Matthews was tripped in the box, but instead of being awarded a penalty, he received a booking for simulation.
Morpeth then had a lot of possession, but tight marking in midfield meant that they had to resort to long, high crosses, which centre halves Dan Mitton and Andrew Grant-Soulsby dealt with comfortably.
The pattern continued in the second half. Morpeth’s high ball game nearly paid off when Taylor got free and powered in a header, but home keeper James Winter pulled off a great save.
Aycliffe were dominating the midfield and Jewson was causing the Morpeth back four problems.
Morpeth’s frustrations spilled over in the 78th minutes when Henderson was sent off for stamping.
Aycliffe fashioned a great team move with five minutes to go, slicing open the Morpeth defence, with Jewson’s shot just missing the goal.
The pressure told a minute later when Jewson was fouled outside the area. Charmey stepped up and fired the free kick into the corner past Morpeth keeper Dryden.
Morpeth threw men forward in an attempt to get an equaliser, but couldn’t trouble Winter.
Morpeth full-back Forster was sent off in injury time for another bad tackle, and Aycliffe saw out time for a 2-1 victory, resulting in them being voted Northern League Team of the Week.
Aycliffe’s next game is away to Ryhope on Saturday (February 24, 3pm kick-off). The next home game at Moore Lane Park is against Washington on Tuesday (February 7, 7.30pm).