|Newton Aycliffe FC||5|
|Darlington Cleveland Bridge||1|
By Paul McGeary
Newton Aycliffe got their first pre-season victory at the third attempt after seeing off Wearside League outfit Darlington Cleveland Bridge at a rain-soaked Moore Lane Park.
The Newtonians fielded new signing Adam Emson up front, and despite the former Bishop Auckland man not registering a goal, he had a promising debut alongside Elliot Gardner who notched a hat-trick - as he did against the same opposition during last summer's calendar.
Almost 40 minutes were on the clock when Gardner took the initiative receiving a ball from Paul Broom 30-yards from goal. The 21-year-old striker shifted the ball onto his left foot and curled an unstobbable shot in off the underside of the 'keepers crossbar.
Two minutes later and the hosts doubled their lead. Chase McMullens' left wing centre was turned back across goal by Broom with recent signing Craddock getting the merest of touches flicking the ball home from just yards out.
Cleveland Bridge reduced the deficit just before half time when their lively forward poked the ball under 'keeper Scott Pocklington in what was their only real showing at the Aycliffe goal.
The second half was all Aycliffe as they made their two-division gulf tell. Emson was chopped down in the area on 57 minutes and despite Gardner's spot-kick being saved by the visiting 'keeper, the former Chester-le-Street man was first to the rebound to smash home his second of the game.
Emson steered a back-post shot just wide on the hour mark and Gardner had a thunderous effort well saved at the front stick as Aycliffe laid seige to the Town-End goal in search of more goals.
Those goals arrived when James Oliver's 81st minute cross was headed home before Gardner completed his treble late on when Oliver once more squared unselfishly.
Pocklington; Craddock, Oliver, Beckett, Peck; Broom, McMullen, Robinson, Knox; Emson, Gardner (c)
Subs used; Sowerby, Campbell
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