By Bob Wood
Newton Aycliffe lost their opening game of the 2019-2020 season, going down 3-0 at home to Whickham at the Beaumont Landscapes Stadium, Moore Lane.
The first 20 minutes constituted a cagey start, with both sides looking nervous on their return to league action.
Good chances were few and far between until the 37th minute, when Finnegan blasted a free kick straight into the Aycliffe wall from a central position just outside the box.
Whickham were having the better of the play, and went ahead on 42 minutes. A cross from Aycliffe’s left reached the six yard box and in the scramble that followed, Finnegan poked the ball home.
Aycliffe keeper Adam Pickford made a superb triple save two minutes into the second half, to keep out Whickham.
Aycliffe came back into it, with Dean Thexton and Shaun Ryder both having good efforts.
But Whickham extended their lead when Thear was left free on the left and he had time and space to rifle it past Pickford for 2-0.
Aycliffe pressed as they tried to get back into the game, with substitute and man-of-the match Johnson Ballan playing well up front; Shaun Ryder hit a strong shot straight at Whickham keeper Bartlett but Whickham came back and scored a third through a penalty by Finnegan to take the three points.
Aycliffe now move on to two games against newly promoted Northallerton Town.
The Newtonians visit the Calvert Stadium on Wednesday (August 7) for a league game.
The two sides then meet again just three days later at the Beaumont Landscapes Stadium in the extra preliminary round of the Emirates FA Cup.
The world famous competition has 736 entrants this season with 368 of them starting this weekend.
Next home game:
Saturday 10 August (ko 3:00pm)
Emirates FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round
Newton Aycliffe v Northallerton Town
Admsision £6 adults, £4 concessions (Please note that Season Tickets are not valid for FA Cup games)