|Newton Aycliffe FC||6|
By Martin Walker
Newton Aycliffe cranked up their pre-season preparations with a thumping win against Wearside League side Jarrow at Moore Lane Park.
Allan Oliver’s side dominated their South Tyneside opponents with a polished all-round performance in front of just over 100 fans on a pleasant late July evening.
But it was returning midfielder Ben Wood, in particular, who stood out for the Newtonians, with the ex-Sunderland star grabbing a hat-trick in an impressive display up front.
Striker Elliot Gardner, Irish trialist Kevin McHue and skipper Sean Tarling were also on the scoresheet to complete a comfortable win for Aycliffe, who on Saturday beat Durham Alliance League side Whitehills 4-1 at home.
The Blues were out the traps sharpish, with Wood putting them ahead inside the first two minutes when he latched on to Scott Pocklington’s long clearance before cleverly clipping the ball over Jarrow’s advancing ‘keeper English.
Wood hit the post in the seventh minute, nonchalantly curling a shot round English after good work by Tarling, only to see it come back off the woodwork.
But Aycliffe’s second goal came from the penalty spot shortly after the half-hour mark. Chase McMullen was up-ended by Jarrow defender Pendergood inside the area, and Gardner coolly slotted home to the ‘keeper’s bottom left-hand corner.
Jarrow enjoyed a rare foray into Aycliffe territory a few minutes later, only for Pressling’s shot to ricochet off Matthews and on to the post.
But Aycliffe made it three in the 40th minute. Tarling won possession and laid off for Danny Robinson, who put Wood in with a smart ball in behind the back line, and the young forward completed the flowing move with a neat left-footed finish.
Aycliffe dominated even more after the break as Jarrow tired, and the Newtonians were 4-0 up just before the hour.
Substitute Dan Mellanby combined well with McMullen, who crossed for McHue and he turned the ball past English at the near post.
Tarling notched in the 71st minute, arguably with the goal of the game, after some intricate one-touch play with McMullen on the edge of the area.
Paul Broom wasted a good chance two minutes later, shooting from an angle with Josh Knox and Wood waiting in the centre, and Knox shot just wide after 83 minutes.
But Wood completed the rout, and his trick, with another well-worked goal four minutes from the end, slamming home Sowerby’s left-sided cross.
Aycliffe go to Hartlepool FC, another Wearside League side, this Saturday before their high-profile pre-season test at home to Darlington next Tuesday night.
Left winger Stuart Owen, who’s been nursing a frustrating ankle tendon injury, is hoping to be back in the reckoning against Mark Cooper’s FA Trophy winners. Keep your ears to the ground on that one.
Team: Pocklington, McHue (Oliver, 62), Campbell (Sowerby, 62), Beckett (Knox, 46), Craddock, Tarlingm (Campbell, 75), Broom, Robinson, B Wood, Gardner (Mellanby, 46), McMullen.
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