By Paul McGeary
Newton Aycliffe last night pulled off a shock swoop for Darlington forward Sean Reay.
And the 23-year-old striker goes straight into Aycliffe’s squad for tonight’s home game with Penrith.
On Tuesday afternoon Aycliffe boss Allan Oliver sealed an agreement which will see Reay released from his Quakers contract, despite eleventh hour competition from Ashington, Sunderland RCA and big spending Celtic Nation.
And this morning, the club received confirmation from the Football Association that the deal has gone through.
The Boldon-born striker started his career with the Quakers seven years ago, but featured only four times for then manager Mick Tait before he left for Blyth Spartans.
In between, Reay played one game for the Newtonians – then a Wearside League outfit – scoring a hat-trick against Willington.
At Spartans, Reay was part of the famous side that reached the FA Cup third round, scoring twice in the 3-1 victory over Shrewsbury on the way.
Spells with Shildon, Jarrow Roofing and Jarrow FC followed, before Martin Gray snapped up the hitman in the summer as part of Darlington’s rebuild.
Reay started well with the Northern League newbies, scoring five times in the first four games as Darlington acclimatised to life outside of the professional game.
The arrival of Stephen Thompson in September saw Reay pegged back in the pecking order, and recently he has been peripheral as Darlington battle Spennymoor at the top of the table.
Reay boosts an already-firing front-line and will accompany 18-goal pair Fred Woodhouse and Danny Earl in tonight’s matchday squad.
Defender James Risbrough could also be in line for a debut as the Royal Blues welcome Penrith in a vital Division One fixture.
Kick off is 7.45pm at Moore Lane Park. Admission £5 adults and £3 concessions.