Newton Aycliffe completed back-to-back wins this week as their revival under Peter Dixon was given a shot in the arm.
Aycliffe grabbed another three points at West Allotment Celtic with a hard-fought 2-1 victory on Wednesday night.
That came off the back of a thumping 4-1 win at Morpeth Town last Saturday – Dixon’s first victory since taking charge – following their 1-1 draw at home to Sunderland RCA last Wednesday.
It means Aycliffe have picked up seven points out of their last nine, helping them to climb up to 16th in the Northern League first division table – five points and four places above the relegation zone.
And the Newtonians will be hoping to continue their good form at home to seventh-placed Jarrow Roofing at the Aux Audio Stadium this Saturday (3pm kick-off).
Wednesday’s game at West Allotment Celtic was another game with a team around Aycliffe in the lower reaches of the table.
But in truth neither side looked as though they will be involved in the relegation shake-up come April.
The only change to the line-up saw the return of Dan Mitton from suspension, replacing Liam Clough.
Aycliffe started the game at a high tempo.
Within five minutes, Stuart Banks had fashioned a chance for Connor Winter, but the home keeper got down well to save.
Shortly after it was Banks with an opportunity, created by the tireless captain Garthwaite. Unfortunately Banks’ touch deserted him at the vital time and again the keeper did well to smother.
After 16, Winter again almost opened the scoring, the chance again created by Garthwaite. But from the clearance, the home team went up the other end and scored. Good wing play on the left saw the cross into the box turned home by Reid.
There followed a lengthy spell of treatment for Aycliffe goalkeeper James Winter. Worryingly he has just returned from a broken leg, and was in severe pain following a collision in the lead up to the goal.
The rest of the half was fairly even. Aycliffe seemed to lose a little of the attacking spark, and goalkeeper Winter was severely restricted in his movement, and unable to take goal kicks.
However, whatever Dixon said to his players at half time had the desired effect.
With 49 minutes on the clock, Boagey did well to cross for Banks, but his header flashed over.
But the visitors didn’t have to wait long to be level. On 52 minutes, Henderson picked the ball up in his own half and drove forward powerfully. He passed to Garthwaite, who quickly played in Banks. As he approached the area he drew the last defender before squaring for the on rushing Henderson, who took the ball in his stride and slotted past the keeper.
And just a minute later, Aycliffe were in the lead, the increasingly effective Boagey with another superb goal to add to his collection. This time a delicate lob over the keeper and into the net.
From there on in, Aycliffe absolutely controlled the game. The workrate of the players from 1-11 was tireless and the desire and will to win from an Aycliffe perspective was fantastic to see.
With five minutes remaining, Byrne was brought on the replace Banks, who had literally ran himself into the ground.
Special mention must go to James Winter. Despite his injury he completed the game, was a strong and vocal presence and marshalled the defence superbly. It is to be hoped the leg injury he suffered isn’t as serious as it looked to be.
• A reminder to supporters also that Aycliffe have announced a change to their midweek home games, which will now take place on a Tuesday, as opposed to Wednesday. Therefore the game with Guisborough Town will now be on Tuesday 4th November with a 7.30 Kick off.
For both these games, normal prices of Adults £6, concessions £4 with under 12s being FREE and as usual the Affiliate scheme will be in operation.