Newcastle Benfield 2, Newton Aycliffe 1
By Bob Wood
Newton Aycliffe returned to action after yet another weather break with a disappointing loss at Newcastle Benfield.
The game was played on a heavy pitch which had seen an abandonment just three days earlier but fortunately had recovered sufficiently to allow the match to go ahead.
Aycliffe were without Dan Mitton and Stuart Banks while fellow regulars Matty Moffat and Brian Close were on the bench.
Close is recovering from the injury sustained against South Shields while Ashley Coffey made the starting line up having been injured in the same game.
It was Coffey who looked the most effective of the Aycliffe attack but it was Benfield who dominated the first half hour producing excellent saves from James Winter.
The home side took the lead after 12 minutes, a shot from outside the box beating the Aycliffe keeper.
Although Aycliffe rallied towards the end of the half they couldn’t pull level and were perhaps fortunate to go into the break just one goal behind.
Aycliffe manager Peter Dixon made a double change at half-time, bringing on Moffat and Jordan Laidler.
The switch seemed to galvanise the visitors who became more threatening forcing good saves from the Benfield keeper.
He could do nothing however after 56 minutes to stop a 30-yard Zak Boagey shot fly past him into the top of the net.
At that point the Aycliffe fans believed that their side would go on and get the winner.
Within the next five minutes there were two chances to do just that. A quick free-kick from Coffey found Moffat who turned the defender but had his shot blocked by the advancing keeper.
Two minutes later he blocked another, this time from Laidler.
It wasn’t to be, though, and it was the home side who got the winner with 15 minutes to go. Aycliffe’s defence failed to deal with a corner & appeared to help the ball into their own net.
It was a disappointing result for Aycliffe, but they must pick themselves up quickly for three games this week: Tuesday home to Ashington (ko 7.45pm), Thursday away to Washington (ko 7.30pm) and Saturday home to Bedlington Terriers (ko 3pm).