Newton Aycliffe FC secured their First Divison status in style on Saturday with a 2-1 win at a windswept Ashington. The Colliers have been the Northern League's form team of late however their seven game winning streak was brought to an end by a determined Aycliffe side. As has often been the case Aycliffe relied heavily on their defence to keep their opponents at bay & Dan Mitton & particularly Mark Stephenson were outstanding in the centre.
Aycliffe knew that points from this game would ensure their survival regardless of other results. In the end, with both Billingham Synthonia & Celtic Nation losing, they would have stayed up without this win. However, the effort put in by the whole team made sure that the league season ended on a high note.
The home team applied early pressure on the Aycliffe goal but stand-in keeper Nick Christoloudou made some fine saves to keep his team in the game, one of them being a remarkable effort getting a hand to a shot despite being on the ground injured!
It was Aycliffe though who took the lead on 24 mins. Paul Garthwaite was fouled 20yds from goal. Jordan Laidler lined up the free kick & scored with a well struck shot which evaded the wall.
Ashington equalised in the 67th minute with a shot from Taylor which looped into the net. Aycliffe came back at the home side & again Laidler was involved. Running into the box he found himself bundled to the ground and the referee awarded a penalty. Stuart Banks was as reliable as ever from the spot placing the ball beyond the keeper's reach.