West kickstart League Cup defence with win over Aycliffe

West Auckland Town 1-0 Newton Aycliffe

West Auckland Town began their defence of the Mitre Brooks Mileson Memorial League Cup with a well-earned win against fellow Northern League Division One side Newton Aycliffe.

Despite Adam Pickford saving Rees Greenwood’s first half penalty, ex Aycliffe defender Daniel Mitton gave West a first victory in Group E of the League Cup in the 53rd minute – a group which also contains Northallerton Town and Division Two sides Redcar Athletic and Easington Colliery.

Jamie Cobain and Chris Hunter were replaced by Mitton and Jamie Harwood as Gary Forrest made two changes from Saturday’s 3-0 triumph over Whickham.

The defending champions started on the front foot as Adam Mitchell and David Dowson both tested Pickford with tame efforts inside the opening eight minutes.

Tom Price showed good skill shortly after to dribble past Liam McNamara on the left-hand side before forcing Pickford into a commanding save at his near post.

It turned out to be a frantic few minutes for Pickford halfwaythrough the first half, turning from villain to hero as Aycliffe’s No.1 raced out of his goal and fouled Dowson in the process.

From the resulting spot-kick, Greenwood stepped up only to see the 27-year-old guess the right way as well as prevent Amar Purewal tucking in the rebound.

West were on top for the majority of the half and yet, in the 41st minute, almost suffered a sucker punch when a looping ball over the top caught the defence off guard and Matthew Pennal found himself one-on-one though he hesitantly dinked the ball over the woodwork, much to the bemusement of the supporters inside the Wanted Stadium.

After multiple attacks, Mitton ensured West’s dominance following the interval with a towering header against his former club via Mitchell’s corner – nothing more than Forrest’s side deserved.

In a rather lacklustre second half where the contest looked to be petering out for a 1-0 win – Aycliffe had a rare chance to bring the scores level when Nicholas Green got on the end of Ethan Wood’s low cross and toe-poked inches wide of Tom Flynn’s left-hand post as West dug deep to hold on for a winning start in Group E.

Next up – West travel to Whitley Bay on Saturday 14 September as they look to make it three consecutive victories (15:00).

West Auckland – Flynn, Hegarty, Price, Mitton, Harwood, Dodds (c) (Francis, 80), Mitchell, Thompson, Dowson(Burnicle, 86), Greenwood, Purewal

Subs not used – Cobain, Hillerby, Bell

Goal – Mitton (53)

Newton Aycliffe – Pickford, Waters, McNamara (Green, 18), Redford, Walton, Pennal (Richardson, 45), Brown, Carr, Thexton, Barnes (Ryder, 82), E. Wood

Subs not used – M. Wood, Brassell

Referee – Christopher Keightley

Attendance – 131

Report by Harry Connor Crowe

Picture by Andy Mitchell

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