West Allotment Celtic 1, Newton Aycliffe 1
By Andy McFarlane
Newton Aycliffe drew their second game on Tyneside in the space of three days as a late Jake Petitjean goal secured a point against a West Allotment side who came into the game on the back of a seven-game unbeaten run.
Aycliffe went into the game with a depleted squad as a sickness bug spread through the dressing room, with the biggest change seeing Nick Green making his first start in goal as Adam Pickford was sidelined with the bug.
The game started with an end of season feel to it with the hosts sitting comfortably in mid-table.
But with a third-place finish still up for grabs for Aycliffe they soon got a foothold in the game and fashioning the better chances without really troubling Hodgson in the home goal, other than him having to make a smart save down to his right to deny Joe Ferguson.
This seemed to be the trigger for West Allotment to kick into life with them creating a couple of good chances of their own with Hayton, in particular, having two great chances.
But Nick Green was equal to them both making fine stops which any established goalkeeper would be proud of to keep the scoreline all-square at the break.
The second period started with Aycliffe in the ascendancy but the chances from distance didn’t trouble the home side too much.
With the greater possession for Aycliffe it did leave the home side with the opportunity to counter attack, which paid dividends for them just after the hour mark, when they broke away with pace down the left with McCarthy and his centre was turned past Green by the prolific Callum Larmouth.
As the minutes ticked by it looked as though Aycliffe would be heading home empty handed until Brian Atkinson threw Marc Costello up front, and it was his presence which put the hosts under pressure.
With three minutes left the pressure paid off as Aycliffe forced a corner, and Joe Ferguson’s inswinging ball was perfect for Jake Petitjean to rocket his header into the roof of the net to pull Aycliffe level.
The Newtonians had once final chance to grab all three points but Ardelean’s shot went straight to Hodgson as he snatched at a loose ball inside the six yard area.
West Allotment felt that they should have had a penalty at the death, however the official had blown the final whistle marginally before they broke into the Aycliffe penalty area.
Up next Aycliffe welcome league leaders North Shields to The Beaumont Landscapes Stadium on Tuesday night (7.45pm), in their penultimate home game of the season, before welcoming Whickham to town on Good Friday for a 12noon kick-off.