Newton Aycliffe FC finally produced the kind of performance they did regularly in the first half of the season, as they thrashed FA Vase finalists West Auckland 4-1.
Allan Oliver spent three seasons in charge of West earlier in his career, and so he will have particularly enjoyed getting one over on them. And make no mistake, despite their upcoming Wembley date; this was a full strength West side that were put in front of Aycliffe.
The performances of the team in this game, coupled with the last game against Shildon, will have given Oliver heart as he looks to develop his squad for a more sustained assault next season.
The game was open from the start, with both sides looking to attach whenever they could. It was the visitors with the first chance of note though, with Spence somehow managing to claw Briggs’ effort out of the top corner.
And from there Aycliffe stepped on. The opening goal arrived on the half hour mark. Paul Broom crossed from the left. Mark Wood rose highest and saw his header come back off the crossbar, but straight to captain John Close who nodded home the rebound.
Unlike on Monday though, Aycliffe were able to double their lead as half time approached. Lewis Green slid a delightful through ball into the path of Mickle, who slotted it to the side of the advancing keeper and into the net.
Into the second half and Spence was once again called upon, first to deny Briggs, and then Knight as the visitors showed what a force they are capable of being.
However with just 15 minutes remaining, powerful striker Mickle outmuscled Hall for the ball, and played in strike partner Owens who coolly finished left footed.
In the 84th minute, Aycliffe grabbed another. James Oliver with a surging run into the box, only to be upended. Stuart Owen stepped up for the penalty and smashed it home.
In the last minute West grabbed a consolation. Briggs picked the ball up in the inside right channel, skipped inside his man and fired an unstoppable shit into the roof of the net.
Aycliffe: Spence, Oliver, Clough, Mitton, Close, Butterworth, Broom, Green, Mickle, Owen, M Wood . Substitutes Owens, Atkinson, Mellanby, Farley, Raitt.
Tickets remain on sale for the upcoming Party in the Park. The all-day live music event is being held on the pitch at Moore Lane Park next Sunday from 12pm. Tickets are priced at just £10 and can be purchased from the bar at the Sports Club.