By Glen Robertson
Newton Aycliffe kissed goodbye to their hopes of a long FA Vase run as they were dumped out at the first hurdle with a 3-1 defeat to Guisborough.
Allan Oliver’s squad was down to its bare bones with Stephen Salvin, Fred Woodhouse, Danny Lambert, Paul Broom and James Oliver all missing, meaning Danny Mellanby was the only one aged over 18 on the three-man substitute’s bench.
And the full-strength visitors took advantage, scoring three times within seven minutes either side of half-time before a spirited late fightback from Aycliffe could only yield one goal.
Jamie Owens headed wide in a first half that was low on goalmouth action until two minutes before the break when the visitors took the lead in controversial circumstances.
A goalmouth scramble was ended when Adam Gell bundled the ball in from close range from a seemingly offside position, but the appeals from the home side fell on deaf ears.
Guisborough immediately added a second through Daniel Johnson’s left-footed finish.
Things got worse in the second half as Johnson rounded Dan Molyneux to slot in a third five minutes after the break.
The Royal Blues were heading for elimination and threw on striker Dan Mellanby for John Close in the 55th minute.
Within 10 minutes, Aycliffe had a goal back as Owens headed in Stuart Owen’s cross.
The hosts laid siege to the Guisborough’s goal for the remaining 25 minutes of the contest but the closest the Newtonians came to another was when Owens struck the crossbar from an acute angle.
Danny Earl sent a late chance narrowly wide of the post as Aycliffe exited the competition at the first hurdle for the third time in four years.