Newton Aycliffe FC manager Peter Dixon insists the furore surrounding the abandoned pre-season friendly against Spennymoor Town this week was a “storm in a tea cup”.
Spenny boss Jason Ainsley decided not to play the second half of Aycliffe’s friendly with the newly-promoted side at Moore Lane Park due to some “tough tackling”.
Chairman Allan Oliver defended his club, saying he hadn’t seen anything like it in 40 years of football.
And boss Dixon insists it was “a big do about nothing”.
“I was more surprised they turned up, because I know what Jason is like, he likes to have everything his own way, and he was never going to get that here,” said Dixon.
“Time and time again, if he doesn’t get his own way, he throws his toys out of the pram, and he did that on Tuesday night.
“It wasn’t a dirty game in any shape or form, but it was competitive. We had two choices against Spennymoor – we knew before the game if we stood off and let them play, they’ve got players that could hurt us or potentially embarrass us with the scoreline. We were adamant that wasn’t going to happen and we didn’t give them any time, and it paid dividends – we were winning 1-0 at half-time.
“At the end of the 45 minutes he (the referee) suggested a couple of my players were close to getting cautioned, so we made seven changes at half-time and took to the field for the second half, and then we were told by a third party they weren’t coming out, so we trained for 45 minutes.
“Surely it has to be the referee who decides whether the game goes ahead, not Jason Ainsley. I spoke to the referee afterwards and he was fully expecting to play the second half, but Jason has over-ruled him.
“It begs the question, had we been playing at the Brewery Field, or whatever they call their ground these days, would he have made the same decision and inconvenienced all their supporters at home?
“But he’ll have his reasons. It’s up to him how he runs his team and it’s up to me how I run mine. We might have different views but it was his decision.
“All the media attention will be music to the ears of the Frickleys and Marines of this world, who aren’t going to be in awe of Spennymoor, as we weren’t.
“Spennymoor are a great side, and I take nothing away from them, but I think the way they handled this left a lot to be desired.
“My back four that night, who were allegedly tackling too rough, consisted of two 18-year-olds and two 21-year-olds, so if they’re struggling to come to terms with that, then all the best for the rest of the season.”
Aycliffe’s pre-season continues at home to Easington on Saturday at 3pm before the season kicks off with an FA Cup tie at Washington on 6th August.