Newton Aycliffe joint-manager Deano Browne believes that the benefit of extra training was one of the reasons behind their shock 2-1 victory over Ebac Northern League First Division leaders Morpeth Town on Saturday.
Aycliffe are now unbeaten in nine matches, courtesy of two goals by debutant Thibault Charmey, and Browne said; “We introduced an extra training night earlier in the season, because we believe that if we work harder, then we’ll reap what we sow.
“The lads are very fit, possibly one of the fittest in the league, and now they’re coming up with the goods. Even before the game when I saw Morpeth’s teamsheet, I was confident that our players would do well.
“That was certainly one of our best wins of the season, and we want to keep our unbeaten run going.”
Aycliffe got off to a great start on 10 minutes when Charmey fired in off the post, but Morpeth levelled with a header by Liam Henderson.
There were chances at both ends before Henderson was dismissed after a clash with Aycliffe’s Paul Weldon, and with 4 minutes left Charmey scored direct from a free kick.
In stoppage time, Morpeth had defender Stephen Forster red-carded for a foul.
Second-placed Consett couldn’t take advantage of Morpeth’s slip up, because they were beaten 5-1 at West Auckland Town, for whom Nathan Fisher returned to his best form with a hat-trick.
Urged on by new signing Lewis Dodds from Shildon, Fisher put West into the lead when he rounded the keeper on 11 minutes, then he chipped the keeper for his second.
He completed his hat-trick on the half-hour from an Anthony Bell through ball, and he missed a chance for a fourth before half-time.
However, Arran Wearmouth scored the fourth before half time when he challenged for the ball in the Consett box, and it rebounded off him into the net.
Danny Craggs pulled a goal back with a free kick, but Fisher, who has now scored 29 league goals for the season, set up Michael McKeown to tap in the fifth.
West Auckland manager Gary Forrest said; “It was a good win, Dodds and Fisher were both superb. I’m so pleased to have Lewis again.” Forrest signed Dodds from Spennymoor when he was at Shildon.
Shildon were unlucky to lose 1-0 against Marske United, whose keeper, Robbie Dean, had a superb display, saving a Mattie Robson penalty in particular.
Shildon manager Danny Moore said; “That was probably one of our best performances of the season, the game was like the Alamo in the second half because we were so much on top. They rode their luck, and their keeper kept them in it.”
“I can accept losing a game like that because our performance was good.”
Shildon are now sixth, while Marske are up to third, 21 points behind leaders Morpeth, with nine games in hand.
Bishop Auckland’s relegation fears eased when they won 4-1 at Washington and they are now six points clear of the relegation zone.
Shaun Ryder fired Bishop into an early lead, but Jak Hanson levelled for Washington on 20 minutes.
Luke Sullivan had an effort cleared off the line, but just before half-time new signing Wilf Dinsdale set up Ryder who fired into the top corner for the second.
Bishops were on top in the second half, and they went 3-1 up when Ian Ward headed in from a corner, and after Stephen Tobin headed against the post, Stuart Thompson scored from ten yards.
Earlier in the week, manager Colin Myers made his players watch a video of last Saturday’s home defeat by Shildon and said; “I think the video was an eye-opener for some of the players, and it got quite a discussion going. It was worth doing.
“I thought we got on top in the second half and totally dominated it. I still think that we need another three wins to avoid the drop.”
In the Second Division, Durham City easily beat Crook Town 5-1 at Hall Lane, to put them tenth.
Brad Hird scored a hat trick, with Kieran McWaters and Chris Pattison scoring the others. Callum Johnson scored Crook’s consolation at 2-1.
Durham manager Olly Hotchkiss said; “I was very proud of my players. They showed great bravery and character to play some outstanding football in difficult conditions. Some of the play and goals were special and I must praise my players fully. We could have scored many more which would have been nice. Now we must focus on Tuesday’s game and build on this good result.”
Crook manager Chris Lax said; “We’re totally demoralised. We were in the game at 2-1 down then the ref made a howler and that was game over.
“In the second half we lost key players with injury and we weren’t good enough if I’m honest.”
Darlington RA are still stuck in second from bottom spot, two points from safety after they were beaten 4-1 at home by Easington Colliery.
Shaun Smith (2) and James Talbot had Easington 3-0 up, before Mark Sims pulled a goal back. Jack Pounder wrapped up the points for the visitors.
Darlington RA assistant-manager Mike Colman said; “It was sloppy game, we weren’t at the races. Decisions went away from us, but Easington worked harder for the result, we were soundly beaten”.