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Website last updated: 5 Mar, 2014 @ 05:31
Sat 15 Oct 2011
Star player: Darren Craddock
By Paul McGeary
Newton Aycliffe registered their first 0-0 in the league for over 16 months with this stalemate at second place Dunston UTS..
It could have been much more for Allan Oliver's Newtonians, had Josh Gray converted a 37th minute penalty awarded to the visitors for a blatant hand ball.
Elliot Gardner smashed the crossbar prior to Gray's misdemeanour while Dale Jardine should have done better when sent clear late on.
At the other end, the dependable Scott Pocklington made two fantastic stops, denying both Terry Galbraith and Andy Bulford either side of the interval to preserve parity.
Aycliffe were without skipper Sean Tarling, who was soaking up the 34 degree heat in Portugal while full back Stephen Gibson was unavailable. Ben Wood and Dan Mellanby's injuries ruled them out while Glen Robson's suspension made it a trip of forwards on the sidelines.
Galbraith had the first show on goal, firing wide from 25 yards in the 10th minute having cut in from the left full-back berth.
The same man tested Pocklington 10 minutes later, when he side-stepped his man and shot with his unfamiliar right foot, with the 21-year-old stopper saving low to his right.
Phil Gray's marauding run down the left on the half hour presented Gardner with a great opportunity in the box, but the man who is one goal away from taking the club's record scoring title could only watch as his eight yard effort cannoned off the underside of the crossbar before bouncing back off the goal-line, with Jardine unable to convert his headed rebound under pressure.
Gray's opportunity from 12 yards came after John Close had headed a left wing corner back into the danger area only for Ben Cattanach to fall foul of the referees eagle eye. Gray's weakly hit left foot effort was no trouble to 'keeper Liam Connell, saving comfortably to his left.
The second half was devoid of chances until late on, with Gray firing wide with his right foot at the near post when well found by Paul Broom.
Bulford had Pocklington at full stretch with nine minutes remaining, the former Darlington custodian superbly tipping Dunston's top scorer's 15-yard effort wide when it looked as though the arrowed shot had stolen the points.
Michael Dixon headed wide from a late corner while Jardine's rising shot kept on climbing when he was sent through on goal in the dying embers of what was a superbly contested battle, and arguably, hindsight aside, a good point on the road for Oliver's men.
Darren Craddock - skipper!
Starting line up