By Paul McGeary
Newton Aycliffe made it three wins out of three in 2013 with a 2-1 victory at Hebburn Town.
Allan Oliver’s side climbed up to 17th in the Ebac Northern League first division with their fourth away win of the season, leapfrogging Marske United and Consett.
They also stretched the gap between them and the relegation zone to 10 points after first-half goals by Danny Earl and Paul Broom gave them a third straight victory on South Tyneside.
Earl cleverly lobbed Hebburn keeper Dan Regan following Tom Hinchley’s fourth-minute through ball.
The opener came after a treble save from Scott Pocklington, when Aycliffe failed to clear a left-wing cross.
Fred Woodhouse broke into the box in the 35th minute but his angled shot squeezed against the post.
Aycliffe’s second came a minute later when Broom tucked home after Kris Hughes’ shot was saved by Regan.
Three minutes after half-time, sub Steve Gibson’s flighted ball was controlled by Earl but his goal-bound shot was cleared off the line by Dan Kirkup.
In the 57th minute, ex-West Brom forward Stuart Nicholson tested Pocklington with an fierce angled drive, which the big ‘keeper palmed away.
Hebburn pulled a goal back in the 65th minute when Nicholson’s floated free-kick beat Pocklington and Stephenson headed into empty net.
Pocklington scooped Dean Nicholson’s 76th-minute free-kick away for a corner before smartly saving Alex Benjamin’s 10-yard flick.
A minute later, and at the other end, Earl cut inside before flashing a drive across goal.
Pocklington raced off his line to take out Paul Gardiner 25-yards out, and got a yellow card for his efforts, but Aycliffe held on for the three points.
Pocklington; Oliver (Gibson, 46), Owen, Craddock, Close; Broom, Hughes, Young, Hinchley; Earl, Woodhouse (Reay, 86). Unused: Lambert, Knox, Mellanby.