JR Cleator Cup
Newton Aycliffe 1, Boro Rangers 1
(Aycliffe win 4-3 on penalties)
By Ryan Livingston
Newton Aycliffe FC continued their pre-season preparations with a cup win at the weekend.
The JR Cleator Cup, the Northern League’s traditional curtain raiser, was held on Saturday at the SecuriCorp Stadium – a fixture contested between the winners of the Northern League first and second divisions.
Despite a division gap, Boro Rangers proved a stern test for Brian Atkinson’s men.
The first half was a very even affair with great chances for both sides, and with Aycliffe slightly edging the visitors.
Charlie Dawson and Callum Munro made themselves a constant threat.
But the game changed when the home side were reduced to 10 men in the 33rd minute.
And Rangers quickly made the man advantage count, with the visitors’ captain Michael James heading home from close range in the 36th minute.
While it felt somewhat against the run of play, the red card was certainly a catalyst in the goal and the home side went into half-time a goal down.
But it’d only take 42 seconds for Aycliffe to make it 1-1 in the second half. An Aycliffe shot ricocheted off Boro Rangers’ Ben Turner, looping into the net to restore parity.
The rest of the second half was played at a slower tempo, with many challenges towards the game’s end.
All that said, the home side showed great character to hold on for so long with ten men. With the scores level at 90 minutes, it went to penalties.
Daniel Cameron made two saves for Aycliffe before Ethan Ord stepped up to strike Aycliffe’s final penalty, to make it 4-3, and bring the JR Cleator Cup to the SecuriCorp Stadium.
The JR Cleator Cup is just another feather in the cap for Atkinson’s Northern League winning Newton Aycliffe side, who will look to have a successful maiden season in the Northern Premier League East Division.
Aycliffe now have one remaining pre-season fixture, with Morpeth Town visiting Moore Lane on Friday (July 28, 7.30pm kick-off).
The season proper then gets under way on Saturday, August 5, when Aycliffe visit Guisborough Town in the extra preliminary round of the Emirates FA Cup.
• The above pic by Yvonne Wood shows the Aycliffe temm with the Northern League JR Cleator Cup.