Newton Aycliffe’s Northern League side are preparing for the biggest game in their 50-year history when they take on West Auckland in the Durham Challenge Cup final this Good Friday.
But the Newtonians’ preparation for the game, which takes place at the Eppleton Colliery Welfare Ground in Hetton-le-Hole, near Houghton-le-Spring, could have been better.
Firstly, their opponents were switched to West Auckland after their victors in the semi-finals, second division side Whickham, were found to have fielded an illegible player in the tie.
Then the Blues suffered their worst defeat of the season when they were hammered 10-1 at Ashington on Tuesday night – severely hampering their hopes of a top-five finish in the Northern League first division.
But in a season which has seen the Moore Lane side surpass all previous club records in the FA Cup and FA Vase, the club hope Friday’s game, which kicks off at 11am, will bring some deserved silverware.
Aycliffe’s previous best in the Durham Challenge Cup was reaching the semi-final way back in 1969.
Then known as Newton Aycliffe Sports Club Rangers, they caused somewhat of a stir by putting Crook Town out in the quarter-final, but were denied a final appearance by Ferryhill Athletic.
That it has taken 47 years to get the club to a position where it can compete for the County Cup shows the level of progress that has been made in recent years.
This season’s run in the cup has seen victory’s against Stockton Town, Hartlepool FC, Washington and an epic semi-final against South Shields which was decided on penalties.
“We’re hoping as many Newtonians as possible will make their way to the Hetton Centre on Good Friday to support the team and hopefully bring the Durham Challenge Cup to Aycliffe,” said a club spokesman.
Eppleton Colliery is on Welfare Road, Hetton-le-Hole, DH5 9NE.
Admission to Friday’s game is £5 adults, £2 concessions.