Penrith 2, Newton Aycliffe 4
By Bob Wood
Newton Aycliffe came out on top in an entertaining game which saw Aycliffe skipper Jamie Owens score three.
Both teams played good football on a very wet pitch, with a heavy sand covering of the middle Aycliffe made a blistering start, within 30 seconds of the kick off.
Josh Gray put in a good cross from the left, for Owens to head over Penrith keeper Bitner for 0-1.
On 13 minutes Scott Howes attempted to lob Bitner from 40 yards with a great effort, but it was cleared off the line.
Bitner was called into action again on 19 minutes, making a great save from a Ben Trotter piledriver.
He was beaten just a minute later when Stuart Banks played in Owens for his second and 0-2.
Penrith had a chance themselves on 34 minutes when a strong free-kick from Gilfillan was well saved by Phil Pentony.
Aycliffe continued to dominate and Gray shot straight at the keeper. Then Stuart Banks hit a shot over the bar.
Aycliffe came out strongly again after half-time and on 47 minutes Banks volleyed in a Gray cross.
Penrith couldn’t handle Aycliffe and went further behind four minutes later when Owens out-muscled the last defender and slotted it past the keeper for his hat-trick.
Aycliffe then took their foot off the accelerator and allowed Penrith into the game. Grant Davison finished off a move at the far post.
Both sides then had chances. Connelly put one past the post for Penrith. Then substitute Jack Oliver had a chance when clean through, but Bitner saved with his legs.
Penrith then made it 2-4 at the death when Connelly converted a penalty in injury time.
Aycliffe now play the rearranged league game at Consett on Tuesday before welcoming Whitley Bay to Moore Lane Park on Saturday, February 25 (ko 3pm).
Then on Tuesday February 28, Billingham Synthonia will be the visitors for the semi final of the Durham Challenge Cup. Kick-off is 7.30pm with admission £6 adults, £4 concessions, under 16 £2.