By Glen Robertson
Newton Aycliffe recorded their biggest home win of the season to move out of the relegation zone.
The Newtonians thrashed Bedlington Terriers 4-0 at Moore Lane Park to leapfrog Penrith, Newcastle Benfield, Billingham Town and Sunderland RCA in the table.
It keeps safety in Allan Oliver’s side’s hands and wins in each of their remaining four fixtures will guarantee another season in the Northern League’s top flight.
Martin Young struck his second goal in as many games while Danny Earl added his 20th and 21st goal of the campaign before defender Darren Craddock completed the rout in the closing stages with a stunning strike.
Oliver named an unchanged line-up for the third consecutive game and the Royal Blues continued where they left off against Shildon at the weekend.
Earl volleyed wide from an early Stuart Owen corner before Fred Woodhouse had the ball in the net but was denied by the linesman’s flag.
Woodhouse was then teed-up by Danny Lambert but the former Stockton Town striker blazed his effort over the crossbar.
The Terriers’ first threat came on the half-hour mark as Martin Brittain’s free-kick came crashing back off Scott Pocklington’s crossbar.
But Aycliffe were soon back on the attack and Woodhouse found Sean Tarling in the area but the skipper’s snapshot was deflected away for a corner.
In first-half stoppage-time, Aycliffe struck. In a mirror or Saturday’s opener, in-form winger Paul Broom did well down the right and crossed for Young in the middle who sidefooted the home side into the lead.
The Newtonians continued to dominate after the break and Woodhouse combined well with Earl in the 57th minute but the latter saw his shot well saved by the Bedlington goalkeeper.
But Earl was not to be denied four minutes later. Pouncing on a misplaced back-pass, the striker tore towards goal and clinically slotted home.
And he added his second in the 72nd minute as he got on the end of Pocklington’s long clearance, outstripped the defence and placed the ball into the bottom corner.
Pocklington earned his clean sheet with a brilliant save from Paul Brayson, before the game was rounded off in spectacular fashion in injury time.
Defender Darren Craddock – who had scored just one goal all season – brought the ball out of defence, carried on unchecked, before unleashing a shot from outside the area into the top corner.
It was a special end to an important night for Aycliffe, who climbed four places to 18th in the table.