Newton Aycliffe FC v Morpeth Town
By Stephen Cunliffe
It was heartbreak for Newton Aycliffe FC on Saturday as Morpeth snatched a 94th minute equaliser depriving the home side of two vital points. This result leaves Aycliffe 17th in Division One of the Ebac Northern League and with just three games left to play are six points above the relegation zone.
Despite Morpeth's excellent recent form it was Aycliffe who had the better chances in a goalless first half. After 17 mins Dennis Knight
tricked his way through the defence & cut the ball back to Stuart Banks who saw his shot blocked. Shortly after Aycliffe skipper, Paul Garthwaite
, fired over the bar.
Morpeth came close on 20mins when a Keith Graydon free-kick from 25yds tested Aycliffe keeper James Winter
. The best chance of the half came just after the half hour mark when Richie Archer headed a cross just wide of the post.
Aycliffe's goal came on 57mins when a Knight free-kick found Mark Stephenson
in the box. The centre-half powered a header into the net. It might have been two nil a few minutes later but Banks' long range shot struck the crossbar.
With full time approaching it looked as though Aycliffe were going to hang on for a much needed three points. However, Morpeth pressed on for the equaliser which came in the fourth minute of added time. The Aycliffe defence came under intense pressure to beat away two shots but Morpeth sub Sean Taylor pounced on the loose ball to fire home allowing the Highwaymen to steal a point.
Aycliffe now travel to top of the table Guisborough Town next Saturday for what will be another tough game. That is followed by the League Cup semi final at Ashington on Tuesday 31 March. They then play their final home game of the season on Easter Saturday, 4 April, against FA Vase semi finalists North Shields.