Newton Aycliffe 1, Belper Town 2
By Ryan Livingston
Newton Aycliffe were incredibly unlucky not to defeat Belper Town on Saturday.
Their 4-3 away win at Belper was arguably their greatest performance of the season. Aycliffe spent that game soaking up great deals of pressure after taking an unlikely 4-1 lead, so it was somewhat ironic that in this game the fortunes were reversed.
Aycliffe were attacking from the offset, the pressure almost leading to Belper’s Mason Warren scoring an own goal.
The attacking play continued, but they were struggling to find good positions to shoot from.
Liam Adamson, Jake Petitjean and Cieran Jackson were all proactive in trying to find a goal, but Belper continually sat back and defended well.
All those early missed chances came to haunt Aycliffe however when Kevin Bastos passed to James Cadman at close range, Cadman’s initial shot went into the chest of Nathan Fisher but Fisher failed to hold the ball and Cadman scored from close range to make it 1-0 very much against the run of play.
Belper’s attacks now were mainly centered around long throws but Aycliffe still had the majority of chances, Ethan Wood did well to find Liam Jarvie in a crowded box and Jarvie found Jackson, however Jackson’s shot went straight into Belper’s Daniel Moore.
At the other end Bastos for Belper fired a tame shot into Fisher. It looked as if Aycliffe would equalise when Adamson hit a brilliant cross and Marc Costello leapt to head the ball, but his header went narrowly wide. It seemed even as early as the 30th that the ball just wouldn’t go in for the home side.
Toby Pascoe became the second player to miss a header that day, not long after handball shouts from Aycliffe after a cross impacted a Belper players midriff.
Aycliffe finally got their goal when a drilled shot from Jackson couldn’t be saved by Moore and Jarvie out sped Belper’s Warren to tap in from very close range.
The half ended with Jake Petitjean missing a header and the referee immediately blew his whistle for half time.
The second half started with mainly Belper attacks and Fisher did well saving Brodie Litchfield’s strong shot.
Like the first half Aycliffe had the overwhelming majority of chances, Jackson once again came close early in the second half, his shot narrowly going over the bar.
And much like Belper’s first goal, their second game against the run of play when Bastos crossed to Curtis Burrows who easily headed in the ball when left unmarked.
Belper went down to ten men shortly after when Litchfield punched Oscar Eckley-Aldsworth.
But Aycliffe couldn’t make the man advantage count, mainly due to Belper keeping every player in their own half while their keeper Moore tried to waste as much time as possible in clearing the ball.
Wayne Whitfield had his chance blocked by a Belper defender, Kyle Davis couldn’t get the best connection as his shot went wide, Jarvie fired into the keeper and Pascoe had a cracking volley just saved.
The game ended 2-1 to Belper after a game where Aycliffe shown tremendous effort.
• The above pictrem, by Yvonne Wood, shows keeper Nathan Fisher joining the attack as Aycliffe try to grab a late equaliser.