By Dan Lewis
Newton Aycliffe claimed a hard-earned point in Carlisle on Tuesday night as the Royal Blues came from behind to draw against mid-table Celtic Nation.
Martin Young’s second-half strike cancelled out James Earl’s 28th-minute penalty as Allan Oliver’s side climbed two places in the Ebac Northern League first division.
Aycliffe had slipped a place after Penrith’s 6-0 win at home to Norton on Monday night – but they leapfrogged them and Marske United back up to 18th with this draw.
And Billingham Town’s 8-1 defeat at Ashington, coupled with South Shields’ 1-1 draw with Durham, made the point all the more valuable.
Aycliffe enjoyed the early chances. Tarling’s long ball found Earl but his shot was saved before Danny Lambert fired wide.
Lambert’s snap-shot whistled over before a penalty was awarded to the hosts, on the advice of the linesman, and James Earl slotted past Pocklington from the spot.
Aycliffe nearly forced an equaliser after good work by Paul Broom. He pulled back to Earl who controlled well before hitting a sweet right-footed shot which was superbly saved by the home ‘keeper.
Celtic went close to a second and then Pocklington kept the visitors in the game with a top save before Earl went agonisingly close to an equaliser just before half-time.
Earl did well after the break but his low cross was intercepted just before woodhouse could pull the trigger.
But Aycliffe forced the leveller after outstanding work by Gibson, who pulled back to Young and he finished with a tidy finish into the bottom right-hand corner.
Young and Lambert both saw chances blocked on the edge of the area and Celtic missed chances at the other end.
Earl missed a great chance for Aycliffe before strong penalty appeals for the visitors were ignored after a foul on Broom.
But it ended a point apiece and a fair result, with an open game creating chances at both ends.
Team: Pocklington, Gibson, Owen, Knox, Close, Tarling, Broom, Young (Hinchley), Earl, Woodhouse (Reay), Lambert (Hughes).