Newton Aycliffe 0, North Shields 1
By Bob Wood
Aycliffe lost out to North Shields in a close game at Moore Lane Park on Saturday.
The FA Vase holders took the points thanks to the only goal of the game. Aycliffe put in a strong performance but paid for a failure to convert chances.
The game was played on a heavy pitch thanks to the recent spell of wet weather.
Aycliffe’s small band of volunteers put in Herculean efforts and many hours of work to get the pitch playable.
Aycliffe were quickly out of the blocks and came close to taking the lead in the first minute.
Matty Moffat ran on to a good through ball but as the advancing keeper came towards him his shot went wide of the post.
A few minutes later his strike partner John Campbell tried to chip the keeper who just managed to get his fingers to the ball, tipping it round for the corner.
With just nine minutes on the clock Aycliffe saw another chance go begging as a shot took a heavy deflection but ran just wide of the post with the Shields keeper stranded.
As is often the case sides who fail to take their chances are punished at the other end.
As the half hour approached Shields broke away down the right. The winger put an excellent cross in from outside the penalty area which found Peter Glen-Ravenhill in the centre. His shot gave James Winter in the Aycliffe goal no chance.
The second half followed the pattern of the first with Aycliffe having plenty of possession but failing to capitalise.
With ten minutes remaining Campbell pounced on a rebound but his shot was cleared off the line.
Ultimately Aycliffe will count themselves unlucky not to take the three points. Had they taken their chances they could and should have taken something from the game.
For the neutral this was an entertaining game played in a great spirit with both sides doing well to cope with the conditions.
But in the end the Robins’ enthusiastic and vocal supporters started their Christmas party in the happier mood.
Aycliffe’s next game is at home to local rivals Bishop Auckland on Boxing Day (Saturday 26th December, 1pm kick-off).