Newton Aycliffe 3, Seaham Red Star 2
Durham Challenge Cup holders Aycliffe reached the semi-finals of this season’s competition with a narrow 3-2 victory over The Star, in an entertaining cup tie.
Both sides looked to attack throughout the match, and both missed several good chances.
Aycliffe started the brighter, and captain Jamie Owens got a shot away after three minutes, but Star keeper Newbrook made the save.
Ten minutes later, Owens got another chance, and this time made no mistake. From a corner, Dan Mitton fired in a shot which came back out to Owens to blast it into the top corner for 1-0.
Star then had a good spell and were rewarded on 24 minutes when Palmer hit a terrific shot past Phil Pentony in the home goal for 1-1.
Their reprieve only lasted four minutes though. Newbrook could only push out an Alan Harrison shot, and Ben Wood got in first to put away the rebound for 2-1 before the break.
Aycliffe again came out the stronger, and following a good team move Owens put a shot just past the post.
Star then pushed again and Aycliffe were grateful to Mitton and Liam Browne for great blocks in the penalty box from strong shots.
Then Seaham missed a great chance on 62 minutes, when Bird put a free header over the bar from six yards, with the goal gaping.
Aycliffe made them pay 10 minutes later, when Ben Trotter made a great run through midfield. Jack Oliver took over and crossed to Wood, who curled it past Newbrook into the far corner for 3-1.
Aycliffe were very unlucky not to put the game beyond reach, when Owens hit the post and then the bar within a minute.
Star went down to 10 men on 82 minutes when Craig Price was sent off. Star didn’t give up though, and with five minutes left got back to 3-2 when Lynch hit a strong shot from outside the box.
Aycliffe went for a fourth and had a couple of good chances but didn’t convert.