Newton Aycliffe: 1 – Pentoney, 2 – Marley, 3 – Harrison, 4 – Brown, 5 – Hitton, 6 – James Oliver, 7 – Nicholson, 8 – Trotter, 9 – Boagey, 10 – Owens, 11 – Gray, 12 – Brassel, 14 – Jack Oliver, 15 Mellanby, 16 – Wood, 17 – Wilson.
Guisborough Town: 1 – Dawson, 2 – Bligh, 3 – McAvoy, 4 – Roddam, 5 – McPhillips, 6 – Bythway, 7 – Orritt, 8 – Wood, 9 – Onions, 10 – McNeill, 11 – Blake, 12 – Livingstone, 14 – Roberts, 15 – Scott, 16 – Lovatt, 17 – Goldsack.
Today’s game choice, as determined by a Twitter poll, was Newton Aycliffe at home to Guisborough. Encouraged to go to witness the ‘rebirth’ of Newton Aycliffe following recent events that lead to the dismissal of the previous manager and some of the playing staff, I wasn’t too sure what to expect when I turned up at Moore Lane.
On arrival to the ground, I was greeted with a mince pie, which I absolutely needed, and it went down a treat! I even managed to squeeze in a few chats with some of the club staff and supporters who were all looking forward to what we were hoping would be a cracking game.
Onto kick off, and Newton Aycliffe were in their dark blue home kit. Guisborough were in their purple kit. And it was Guisborough who started the livelier.
In just the second minute, Guisborough’s number 10, Mason McNeill, out battled Aycliffe’s Alan Harrison, getting himself 1 on 1 with the opposing keeper, Pentoney. After taking a few smart touches, McNeill coolly finished under the outrushing goalkeeper to put the away team 1-0 up very early on.
After the opening goal, Aycliffe started to get back into the game. Although Guisborough’s number 8, Gary Wood, continued to show great strength and power to push Guisborough into the attacking third, nothing materialised as Aycliffe managed to stand strong. At this point, the game became very even, with both teams counteracting any moves the other team attempted.
Aycliffe’s first chance fell to their number 7, Nicholson. Managing to use his strength to get round Guisborough’s number 3, Dylan McAvoy, Nicholson tamely shot at the Guisborough goalkeeper, James Dawson, who saved easily. The next chance of the game also fell to Aycliffe, but this time to their number 10 and new captain, Jamie Owens. A great solo run allowed him to get a shot away, although this was also straight at James Dawson, who held the shot at the second attempt.
Following a bit of attacking Aycliffe pressure, Guisborough’s number 5, Liam McPhillips, picked up the ball in his own half. McPhillips played a clever ball over the top to his attacking counterpart, McNeill, who managed to strike the crossbar with a side footed shot after a run past the Aycliffe defence.
In the 27th minute, Ayecliffe’s Jamie Owens again caused Guisborough more problems. After making a darting run leaving the Guisborough midfield standing, Owens cut inside and whistled a shot, from just outside the area, just past the far post. Aycliffe showing a lot more attacking intent at this point and, if it continued, it was only a matter of time before they scored.
And so, in the 30th minute, as Aycliffe sustained their attacking pressure, the ball, again, fell to Jamie Owens. As he had done previously, the Aycliffe captain very smartly cut inside, and beautifully shot with the outside of his boot into the bottom left corner of James Dawson’s goal. Just out of the reach of the goalkeeper, the ball nestled in the back of the net, equalising for the home team. The first goal of the Mellanby / Browne tenure, it definitely meant a lot to the players, staff and supporters alike.
Shortly afterwards, Aycliffe managed to make it 2-1. Aycliffe’s Marley received the ball just on the edge of the area, and brilliantly took a first time shot that looped over James Dawson and into the top right corner. A shot that looked unstoppable, it was jubilantly celebrated by all the Aycliffe players, who’d all managed to capitalise on some great, consistent attacking play.
After the Aycliffe turnaround, Guisborough had slowly started getting back into it, with some smart, passing play. That was until a miscommunication between the two Guisborough defenders, Liam McPhillips and Bythway. An innocent Aycliffe ball over the top was called for by both players, who both went for the ball, and clattered into each other in the process. A break in play followed as McPhillips received treatment for a cut and bleed received when he went for the ball.
Taking advantage of Guisborough’s number 5 not being on the pitch, Aycliffe’s Zak Boagey made a smart run into the area, and managed to get off a shot towards the Guisborough goal. Parried by James Dawson, the ball fell to the Aycliffe number 8, Trotter, who calmly side footed the saved shot into the goal, giving Aycliffe a 3-1 lead just before half time.
At this point, it was very hard to believe that Aycliffe had gone through such a dramatic change in the last week, having appointed a new management duo, and signing 11 new players. The team had taken a commanding lead, and one they didn’t look like they’d let slip in the second half, but did it by playing some very smart Football.
And it was Aycliffe who continued to attack as the second half got underway. It was the main man again, Jamie Owens, who forced the first save of the half. Another solo run, jinking past the defence, forced a simple enough save from James Dawson, who’d definitely been the busier of the two goalkeepers thus far.
Obviously being woken up by the amount of defending they’d done so far, Guisborough started to come to life with long periods of attacking play, but never managing to get any clear cut chances. Aycliffe continued to dig in, and cleared anything that came their way to maintain their two goal advantage.
That was until the 72nd minute. A rather aimless overhead kick / pass was misjudged by the Aycliffe defence and fell kindly to Guisborough substitute, number 14 Steve Roberts, who finished smartly into the bottom right corner, out of the reach of the goalkeeper, Pentoney, making it 3-2 and sparking an exciting end to the game.
In the closing of the game, Guisborough definitely had more of the possession, but Aycliffe continued to have as many bodies back as possible, and created an unbreakable wall to maintain their one goal lead.
Frustrating for the Guisborough players as Aycliffe held the ball whenever they received it, a late tackle from Guisborough’s Dave Onions sparked a mass surrounding of the referee, as his line running colleagues also joined him on the pitch. I didn’t quite see anything after the tackle, but both Dave Onions and the Aycliffe left back were dismissed. In my opinion, it wasn’t a red card offence, but I can’t say what happened when the players surrounded the referee, so the red card offence may have been committed then.
All in all, a great game. Maybe not for the travelling Guisborough supporters, but for everyone connected to Newton Aycliffe FC and the neutrals that’d gone along to see a totally new Newton Aycliffe side.
As always, continued good luck to Guisborough Town, who I continue to keep an eye on and always enjoy watching. And good luck to this new Newton Aycliffe side, who’s ‘rebirth’ has started with a bang!