By Glen Robertson
Newton Aycliffe manager Allan Oliver is looking to end the club’s season on a high as local rivals Shildon visit Moore Lane Park on Saturday.
Aycliffe have recorded back-to-back victories in their last two outings, and Oliver is hoping his side can end their inaugural first division campaign with nine points from a possible nine with a win over the Railwaymen.
“The best way to end a season is with three points,” he told the club’s triple award-winning matchday programme. “Regardless of the opposition, we want to end on a high. The players deserve it.
“We’ve won our last two. Shildon are in great form, have a lot of good players and it promises to be a good game. But I’d like to end the season with a win.”
Having never before met in a competitive game before the start of this season, Saturday’s game will be the fifth time the neighbouring towns have done battle. Aycliffe were victorious in the league fixture at Dean Street in October, while Shildon knocked the Newtonians out of both the FA Vase – after extra-time of a replay – and the Durham County Challenge Cup in January.
Aycliffe have already secured a higher league finish than the Railwaymen – and a top 10 finish – and could move ahead of other local rivals Bishop Auckland in the table with a victory.
Oliver admits in his interview with the club’s programme that he didn’t think the club’s first season at the level would have been so successful.
“Had you told me before the season we’d have 18 wins and 11 draws I’d have bitten your hand off,” he said. “We’re not a million miles away from a top six club.
“If someone had said that to me five years ago I’d have laughed at them! The rise since then has been meteoric.”
To read the rest of Oliver’s interview and find out his plans for the summer and his highlight and lowlight of the season, pick up a copy of the official programme at Moore Lane Park on Saturday for just £1.
A familiar face will be returning to Moore Lane Park on Saturday as Ben Wood is expected to line-up for the Railwaymen. The former Sunderland player swapped the Aycliffe blue for the Shildon red last month and has been a revelation for the Railwaymen, scoring five goals in eight appearances.
Shildon have strengthened their squad considerably over the last few months and have scored nine goals in their last two games, including four away at FA Vase finalists Dunston on Monday night.
The game kicks off at 3pm at Moore Lane Park, with admission £5 for adults and £3 for concessions.