Newton Aycliffe FC played four games last week as their preparations for the new season intensified.
A draw against Rotherham side Maltby Main was followed by wins over Brandon & Darlington RA.
The final game of the week saw Aycliffe ensure that the Frank Swinburne Memorial Cup stayed in Moore Lane with a win over Northallerton.
It was, however, a close game with Aycliffe short of several key players.
Northallerton took the lead on 14 minutes with a good shot from Mark Sims.
Aycliffe had two chances to equalise from the penalty spot but both were squandered by last season’s leading scorer John Campbell. Ashley Coffey eventually pulled a goal back for the home side with a powerful back post header.
With the final whistle approaching the prospect of the trophy being shared for the first time was a possibility, until referee Helen Conley awarded Aycliffe their third penalty of the match. This time Stuart Banks stepped up and made no mistake from the spot.
John Campbell lifted the trophy named in honour of one Aycliffe’s best loved committee members, Frankie Swinburne, remembered by chairman Allan Oliver as “the heart and soul of the club”.
It was fitting that several members of the Swinburne family attended the game and his son, also Frank, presented the trophy.
Meanwhile Aycliffe conclude their preseason with home friendlies against Spennymoor Town on tonight (Tuesday 26th July) and Easington Colliery on Saturday (30th July).
The season proper starts on Saturday 6th August with a trip to Washington in the extra preliminary round of the FA Cup.