By Glen Robertson
An under-strength Newton Aycliffe were unable to cause an upset as league-leaders Celtic Nation ran out comfortable winners in Carlisle.
The ambitious Cumbrians were unbeaten in their seven home league games this season and were rarely troubled by the Newtonians, who were missing goalkeeper Dan Molyneux, captain John Close and top scorer Danny Earl among others.
Teenage goalkeeper Ryan Farley was called upon between the sticks but he was picking the ball out of his net in the first minute as Colin McMenamin opened the scoring before the Royal Blues had touched the ball.
A long ball from Lee Hoolicklin picked out the striker who was scoring goals in the Scottish First Division last season for Morton and he steered a header over the onrushing Farley.
McMenamin added his and Celtic Nation’s second midway through the first half, flicking in from close range after Danny Hall had nodded down Nathan Luscombe’s corner.
He was denied a hat-trick just after the half-hour mark when his shot from distance crashed back off the underside of Farley’s crossbar and bounced to safety.
Dion Raitt fired over from the edge of the box minutes before the break in the closest the Royal Blues came to pulling a goal back in the first 45.
A quiet opening to the second half was punctuated only by a nasty injury suffered by the hosts’ Tyran Taylor, who was carried off with a dislocated shoulder.
The game never really got going after the lengthy stoppage, until minutes from the end when the Newtonians thought they had pulled a goal back, only to realise the referee had brought play back for an Aycliffe free-kick.
Substitute Fred Woodhouse was fouled on the edge of the area but the ball rolled to Christian Selby, who slotted into the bottom corner after the whistle had gone. Selby took the resulting set-piece himself but couldn’t replicate his earlier finish as it curled wide.
Deep into added time the home side added a third when they broke quickly after winning the ball in midfield and Glen Lane added the finishing touch.
Aycliffe now turn their attention to five consecutive matches at Moore Lane Park, where they remain unbeaten in league action this season, starting with Sunderland RCA on Wednesday night.