By Glen Robertson
Newton Aycliffe suffered more misery in the FA Cup as they were knocked out at the first hurdle by Holker Old Boys after a 3-0 defeat.
Aycliffe were on top for an hour but Kris Hughes’s missed penalty saw the tie turn in Holker’s favour, as they scored three late goals to progress to the preliminary qualifying round of the competition.
Aycliffe were playing up the hill in the first half, with a low summer sun proving an irritant. But the Newtonians dictated the game early on, keeping possession well but not being able to create a clear sight of goal.
Sean Tarling tried to end the home side’s resistance by firing in an effort from 25 yards, but it flew just the wrong side of the post.
Next Hughes found Gavin Barton in space on the edge of the area, but the former Consett striker’s curled effort went harmlessly over the crossbar.
Scott Pocklington cut a lone figure for long spells in the first half, but when he was called upon after half-an-hour he reacted superbly. Nathan Reid got a toe on the ball in a goalmouth scramble, but Aycliffe’s keeper got down well to keep the game goalless.
Aycliffe came agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock eight minutes before half-time. Tarling drove into Holker’s penalty area and unselfishly squared for Nathan Wilson, who was denied from six yards by a superb save from stand-in keeper Ben Morseby.
The second half continued in the same pattern, as Aycliffe desperately searched for an opener, with Josh Knox’s 20-yard effort flying the wrong side of the woodwork.
Aycliffe’s golden chance came on the hour mark as Kris Hughes was brought down in the penalty area by a rash challenge but, after picking himself up off the floor, the summer signing from Jarrow Roofing fired the penalty over the crossbar.
Buoyed by their let-off, Holker launched an attack of their own and Pocklington pulled off a fine save from Stephen Forbes’ left-footed volley.
But there was nothing Pocklington could have done about Philip Coombe’s effort 10-minutes later, as the Holker midfielder picked up the ball 30-yards out and let fly with an unstoppable shot to give the home side the lead.
Aycliffe made three changes as they desperately chased the game, with Stuart Owen, Fred Woodhouse and the injured Mark Peck being replaced by Anthony Campbell, Paul Broom and James Oliver.
But it was to no avail as Holker soon doubled their lead. Gareth Smith’s right-wing corner missed everyone and flew straight into the Aycliffe net.
Holker sealed their place in the preliminary round of the competition in the 81st minute through Forbes. Smith crossed from the right towards Coombe, who squared to the unmarked Forbes to tap home from six yards out
Holker will face the long trip back to County Durham as they face Crook Town a week on Saturday, while Aycliffe mist re-group and focus on their league campaign which starts with a trip to Marske on Saturday.
NAFC LINE-UP: Pocklington; Hinchley, Owen, Peck, Close; Tarling, Wilson, Knox; Woodhouse, Hughes; Barton. SUBS; Broom, Campbell, Oliver.