By Glen Robertson
Newton Aycliffe’s survival hopes received a major boost with a 3-1 win over local rivals Shildon at Moore Lane Park.
It was the fourth time the two teams had met at Moore Lane Park and the first time the Newtonians had got the better of their neighbours.
Paul Broom teed-up Martin Young for the opener before drawing a foul on the edge of the area that allowed Stuart Owen to add a second. Danny Richmond ensured a nervy finale as he pulled one back in the 83rd minute but Broom netted the goal his performance deserved in the dying stages to secure all three points.
Allan Oliver’s side remain in the bottom three – just two goals behind Marske in the table – but will take some much-needed confidence into next week’s double-header against Bedlington and Ashington.
The Royal Blues were unchanged from the side that ran Spennymoor close in midweek, while former Aycliffe striker Ben Wood lined up for the Railwaymen.
Aycliffe threatened first, with Danny Lambert firing a speculative shot wide before Broom’s pass to Danny Earl was just too close to goalkeeper Jake Johnson.
The visitors’ first chance came from a Jamie Owens header that was comfortable for Scott Pocklington to save while Adam Johnston’s free-kick was hit straight at the former Darlington goalkeeper.
It was Aycliffe who struck first, seven minutes before the break. Broom received the ball on the right and burst past a couple of challenges into the area, skipped away from Mark Hudson with ease and squared for Young at the far post to prod home.
Broom was heavily involved again as the Newtonians doubled their lead in the 67th minute. The former Coxhoe winger was brought down on the edge of the area as he made his way towards goal and Owen stepped up to fire a low drive underneath the wall and into the bottom right-hand corner.
But the Railwaymen hit back to set up a tense ending. Owens, who has terrorised the Aycliffe defence at Moore Lane Park for Billingham Town already this season, burst into the area down the left and his shot across the face of goal was turned in by substitute Richmond from close range.
Shildon pressed for a leveller and both Stephen Gibson and John Close had to be alert to make crucial interventions, but Aycliffe made sure of the victory deep into stoppage time.
Substitute Dan Mellanby drove into the area, drew a couple of defenders and squared for the unmarked Broom on the right and the midfielder flicked in with the outside of his right foot past the despairing dive of Johnson.
The full-time whistle went seconds later, leaving the Newtonians celebrating a first win in five, and knowing that survival remains in their own hands.