Around 450 football fans flocked to Moore Lane Park to see Newton Aycliffe’s first pre-season friendly of the summer this week.
The bumper crowd at the SecuriCorp Stadium saw newly-promoted South Shields win 2-0 in what was Julio Arca’s first game in charge for the Mariners.
And Aycliffe are hoping for more big crowds to support their summer preparations, beginning with another home friendly against Darlington on Saturday (3pm kick-off).
Manager Brian Atkinson has lined up a stellar list of opposition for their pre-season schedule, with National League North sides South Shields, Darlington, Spennymoor and Blyth all visiting Aycliffe.
The programme kicked off on Tuesday night as Aycliffe – promoted to the Northern Premier League Division One East last season – welcomed South Shields, who also won promotion earlier this year when they won the Northern Premier League title.
Second half goals from Jordy Mongoy and Will McGowan secured a 2-0 win for the visitors, with Aycliffe giving a good account of themselves against their full-time opponents.
Chairman Allan Oliver said: “We were delighted with the attendance and it made for a superb midweek family atmosphere.
“We have a fantastic pre-season schedule lined up and we’re grateful to Shields, Darlington, Blyth and Spennymoor for sending teams our way this summer.
“It would be great to see more support for all the friendlies, which will support the club massively as we prepare for our first-ever season in the Northern Premier League.”
Admission for pre-season friendlies is £9 (adults), £6 (concessions) and £3 (17 and under), while Under-5s go free. Card payments can also be taken on the gate, while extra parking has been made available.
NAFC remaining pre-season friendlies
Saturday 8 July (3pm): Darlington (home)
Tuesday 11 July (7:30pm): Spennymoor Town (home)
Saturday 15 July (3:00pm): Blyth Spartans (home)
Tuesday 18 July (7:30pm): Crook Town (home)
Saturday 22 July (3:00pm): Boro Rangers, Cleator Cup (home)
Saturday 29 July (3:00pm): Morpeth Town (home)