Glen Robertson previews Aycliffe’s trip to Penrith…
It has been claimed that Newton Aycliffe’s game against Darlington last weekend was the Royal Blues’ cup final, but just one week later the club face a much more important game away at Penrith.
While a first-ever visit of Darlington to Moore Lane Park in a competitive game was something to savour, and the three points were an unexpected bonus, the trip across the A66 to the face the Blues will do much to shape both clubss relegation fears.
Penrith are currently three points behind Aycliffe, but enjoy seven games in hand. But if the Newtonians were to complete a double over the next week, the gap would be up to nine, a situation much more comfortable for everyone at Moore Lane Park.
But Aycliffe have never won against Penrith. Last season, the Royal Blues slumped to a shock 2-1 home defeat, and were beaten 1-0 away.
Penrith have only won one of their six home matches so far this season – a 5-1 thrashing of Celtic Nation in their August Bank Holiday derby fixture.
And lots of goals should be expected on Saturday, with Aycliffe’s last five matches yielding 23 goals and Penrith’s 31. Aycliffe have put five past Norton and Team Northumbria, while Penrith lost 8-3 to Whitley Bay and were thumped 5-1 by bottom club South Shields and 4-1 by Shildon.
But against Guisborough last time out – a team who beat the Newtonians 5-1 three weeks ago – Penrith ran out comfortable 3-0 victors.
Aycliffe welcome back Fred Woodhouse from suspension, while Mark Peck, John Close and player/coach Dan Mellanby nearing full fitness.
The club have been handed a further boost with news that mark Wood’s ankle injury may not keep him out as long as first feared, with the defender believing he could make a return on Boxing Day against Bishop Auckland.
The game kicks off at 3pm at Penrith’s ground at Frenchfield Park, CA 11 8UA.