Newton Aycliffe 3, Marske United 2
By Dan Lewis
Aycliffe got back to winning ways in one of only two Northern League games that managed to beat the elements on Wednesday night.
After the way the wind affected the game at Guisborough on Saturday, the last thing the Aycliffe players would have wanted to see were the conditions that greeted them last night. With the wind again gale force, this time accompanied by driving rain, it was safe to say it was tough!
Aycliffe were kicking against the conditions in the first half, but adapted well. And in the 17th minute they took the lead. Paul Broom crossed from the right and the ball went across goal and found former Marske winger Harrison Davies. He made no mistake with a powerful left footed strike.
As the half developed, the visitors started to create a bit more. Spence made a great save, and shortly after former Aycliffe front man Earl dragged a shot wide when through on goal.
The game ebbed and flowed, and Aycliffe thought they had doubled their advantage. Jamie Owens made space on the edge of the box and fired a shot in that the keeper only parried. Atkinson was on hand to turn the rebound home, only the see the linesman’s flag rule offside.
As halftime approached, Owens again found himself some space on the edge of the box but just shot wide.
Unlike Saturday, Aycliffe were looking to take advantage of conditions in the second half. And almost immediately new signing Butterworth almost did exactly that, but the keeper saved well.
A worrying trend for Aycliffe continued, with Atkinson once again being forced into being substituted. Since he signed he has yet to manage to complete a full game.
And on 56, Marske were level. In truth it had looked hard to see where a goal would come from for them as conditions worsened. However former player Earl was the provider, with his cross being headed him by Poole.
As puddles started forming and players on both sides struggled to keep their footing, the game really opened up. On 65 Aycliffe’s lead was restored, with a Jamie Owens header from Davies’ corner.
The lead lasted less than a minute though, as another former player scored, this time Danny Lambert firing home after seeming to mis-control the ball!
Two minutes later and Aycliffe regained the lead. Good wing play from Davies squared the ball to Owens. Somehow the goal bound effort was blocked by Mellanby was on hand to tap home.
On 74 it looked as though Aycliffe had got their 2 goal cushion, only for the linesman to rule offside, this time against Owens.
And with 15 minutes to go, things got really interesting! Dan Mitton had been forced back into service earlier than planned due to a defensive crisis, but he was withdrawn on 75 and replaced by powerful front man Wilson.
And on 78, our last remaining recognised senior defender John Close was also forced off, with youngster Joe Young replacing him.
However far from being backs to the wall, Aycliffe could, and should have extended their lead in the last 10 minutes. Jamie Owens was somehow halted by a last gasp tackle, Paul Broom shot wide when 1:1 with the keeper, and the keeper then produced an unbelievable one hand save to again deny Owens.
And finally the game ended, and a vital three points for Aycliffe.
Next up and the last home game of 2013 sees Ashington visit MLP on Saturday. The kick-off is 3pm with admissions costing £6 adults, £4 concessions, and as ever FREE for u12s. We hope to see you there!