25th July 2009
Newton Aycliffe have achieved their ambition of reaching the Northern League. The club stepped into the Wearside League last season from the Durham Alliance and took the title at the first time of asking. The championship was won by three points over nearest rivals New Marske SC, scoring 121 goals over 36 games with healthy crowds of over 250 for the title run in.
I visited Newton Aycliffe last season at their temporary home at Shildon Sunnydale Stadium, as development work commenced at Moore Lane.
A grant of 300,000 from Sedgefield District Council as well as funding from the Football Foundation meant the required facilities and floodlights were in place by the end of last season.The ground has a new changing room block, admission hut and a building with incorporates a committee room, refreshment bar and toilets. The pitch is fully fenced off with hard standing on all sides. All that remains to complete the project is a main stand. This should be in place before the deadline to meet the step 6 criteria in March 2010. The stand is already marked out at the far side opposite the team dugouts.
Aycliffe’s opponents for this pre season warm up were North West Counties club Wigan Robin Park.
I don’t know if it was the fact that Newton Aycliffe were a far superior football side or that it was a case of the Robins being bobbins. I think maybe it was the former as the home side played some great passing football and carved their opponents up with ease and flair.
The opening goal came on 13 minutes when full back Wood exchanged passes in the box before picking his spot from a tight angle. The home side missed several good chances, mainly thanks to the Robins keeper, who, as you may not have guessed by the score line, actually played a blinder.
I’ll make the effort to revisit Moore Lane again, to see them in competitive Northern League action and to also check out the main stand once it’s up and running.
During the game I chatted with a lady photographer who; when noticing my notebook and pen in my hand asked the question “Are you somebody then?” I replied with “Well…not quite”
NAFC 8 (Wood 13, Cairns 35,44 Gardiner 41, Caley 47,82 Broom 55,62) WRP 0