Newton Aycliffe FC’s season has taken on yet more twists in the last week.
In what has been a troublesome campaign of ups and downs, the Newtonians lost their League Cup semi-final at Ashington last week, only to discover their victors allegedly fielded an ineligible player.
It means the Northern League could overturn the result and place Aycliffe into the league’s showpiece final in a few weeks.
And it could provide Aycliffe with a mouthwatering derby finale after Shildon beat Dunston on Tuesday night to secure their place in the final.
The league’s management committee are due to meet tomorrow (Thursday) to decide Ashington’s fate and Aycliffe’s potential glamour tie.
Peter Dixon’s side are still involved in the relegation mix at the foot of the Ebac Northern League first division after their 1-0 defeat at home to FA Vase finalists North Shields at the weekend.
Aycliffe are just two points clear of the drop zone with one game left – ironically at Ashington this Saturday (11th April).
A victory would boost their survival hopes massively, but they will still be waiting for other teams to drop points.
A defeat would mean they’d be relying on Celtic Nation, West Allotment Celtic and Billingham Synthonia all to drop enough points which would ensure a fifth consecutive top-flight campaign for Aycliffe.
See the latest league standings below and crunch fixtures which will determine the relegation outcome.
Aycliffe held their own for most of the first half despite North Shields having the majority of the play on Saturday.
But the home side suffered a major blow on 45 minutes when Craig Garthwaite brought down a forward in the box. The referee awarded a penalty and sent off the Aycliffe centre-half.
Shields’ Gareth Bainbridge took the spot kick but saw it brilliantly saved by Aycliffe keeper James Winter.
For the second game in a row Aycliffe started the second half with ten men and it didn’t take Shields long to press home the advantage.
On 50 minutes Bainbridge’s header hit the bar and Ryan Carr headed home the rebound.
As in the first half the visitors had the better of the chances but Aycliffe came close to equalising with seven minutes left. Stuart Banks saw the keeper out of his goal and tried a long ranged shot which went wide.
Northern League table, bottom SIX
|20||West Allotment Celtic||39||6||3||9||27||31||5||1||15||25||60||-39||37|
|21||Celtic Nation FC||36||5||3||10||34||48||1||3||14||11||53||-56||24|
|22||Crook Town (R)||39||1||2||16||20||87||0||2||18||19||86||-134||4|
Sat 11th April: Ashington (A)
Sat 11th April: Crook Town (A)
Tues 14th April: Whitley Bay (H)
Sat 18th April: Consett (H)
Tues 21st April: Shildon (H)
Sat 25th April: North Shields (H)
Sat 11th April: Morpeth (A)
West Allotment Celtic
Wed 8th April: Durham City (H)
Sat 11th April: Bedlington Terriers (H)
Sat 18th April: West Auckland Town (H)
Sat 11th April: Jarrow Roofing (H)
Wed 15th April: Crook Town (A)
Sat 18th April: Shildon (H)
Tues 21st April: Marske United (A)
Sat 25th April: Bedlington Terriers (A)
Tues 28th April: North Shields (H)