By Dan Lewis
Newton Aycliffe climbed back into the top half of the Ebac Northern League first division with a 3-1 win at home to Hebburn Town.
After a string of frustrating results on the road recently, Newton Aycliffe will have been glad to be back home on Saturday.
With Hebburn Town the visitors, and firmly rooted to the bottom of the table it was a game Aycliffe had targeted for the 3 points.
New signing Harrison Davies was given a start on the left of the Aycliffe midfield, and he turned in a very positive first performance.
The game started brightly for Aycliffe, with leading scorer Jamie Owens first to try his luck but his left footed shot went narrowly the wrong side of the post.
Shortly after that Michael Gibson sent in a cross from the right which was slightly over hit but actually rebounded back off the cross bar with the keeper beaten, as Aycliffe made a strong start.
Then just 2 minutes later, Davies made his first meaningful contribution. Excellent link up play between him and fellow recent signing Dan Wilson led to the ball being fed into the path of Owens. He was able to then slide in Gibson down the right, but his shot went over.
However in the 20th minute, Aycliffe conceded. A Hebburn corner from their left was swung into the box, and although Young in the Aycliffe goal protested strongly, his challenge was unsuccessful, as Costello headed into the net.
The first half from that point on was poor in truth. Neither side was able to take a stranglehold on the game, with both sides conceding possession very easily.
Whatever Allan Oliver said to the players at half time though was clearly effective!
Just 5 minutes into the second half and the two forwards linked up well. On this occasion Wilson was the provider as he slipped the ball through to Owens, who managed to lift the ball over the advancing keeping and into the net.
Three minutes later and the game had been turned on its head! Quick thinking from an Aycliffe corner on the right led to Michael Gibson and Stuart Owen working a short corner. Owen drilled a cross into the box where Owens was on hand to slot home.
This was more like it from Aycliffe now, and once again the front two linked up well. Wilson again playing in Owens, but his hopes of a hat trick went just wide of the post.
However in the 68th minute, the game did see a fourth goal. Owens turned provider on this occasion, with good play down the left. His cross was met at the far post by Michael Gibson, with his first goal for the Royal Blues.
In the 75th minute and nearly a moment to savour…James Oliver, holder of the longest goal drought now in the Aycliffe squad somehow found himself through on goal. However the keeper ruined his big moment with an excellent save to turn his shot onto the bar!
A much improved performance from Aycliffe in the second half. The deserved 3 points see them back up into the top half of the league table.
With no midweek game this week, next up for Aycliffe is a trip to Bedlington next Saturday.