Newton Aycliffe 4, Ashington 1
By Bob Wood
Newton Aycliffe maintained their place at the top of the Ebac Northern League thanks to an excellent win over second-placed Ashington at the SecuriCorp Stadium on Saturday.
The home side were looking to pick themselves up after the setback at Heaton Stannington last week and did it in style coming out 4-1 winners.
The home side opened the scoring in just five minutes. A cross from the left was met by Jack Naylor at the back post and he headed home.
Ten minutes later Ashington were dealt a further blow when their captain, Ben Harmison, was red carded for a foul.
Both sides had chances but were unable to make them count. However, the last seven minutes of the half were eventful.
Aycliffe doubled their lead on 38 minutes after Liam Jarvie intercepted a pass from defence. He combined with recent signing Joey Smith who played the ball to Liam Adamson who calmly fired passed the keeper.
Aycliffe were looking comfortable at this stage, however, two minutes later defender Oscar Eckley-Aldsworth became the second player to see the red card for a foul. Worse was to follow as Dan Maguire scored for Ashington from the resulting free-kick.
Aycliffe were under pressure in the second half as they adjusted to playing with ten men. Ashington had a good opportunity to equalise but saw the ball roll along the goal line.
In the last ten minutes Aycliffe were able to assert their authority to take the game away from the visitors.
Substitute Jack Clarkson made it 3-1. Latching onto a long ball from Dan Myers on the left wing he cut inside the defender firing into the bottom corner of the net.
With the game deep into added time Ethan Wood added a fourth with a jinking run into the box and a fine strike out of the keeper’s reach.
The result puts Aycliffe six points clear of Ashington at the top of the league on 69 points, but the Colliers have two games in hand. Bishop Auckland are third on 62 points.
It’s shaping up to be an exciting finish to the season which will see the top team promoted to the Northern Premier League with second place playing off against a Step 4 team.
Next up for Aycliffe is a trip to second-bottom Northallerton Town on Saturday, March 11, before returning to Moore Lane on Saturday, March 18, when West Allotment Celtic will be the visitors.
The above picture, by Yvonne Wood, shows Jack Clarkson taking on an Ashington defender on his way to scoring Aycliffe’s third goal.