Report: West Auckland 1-2 Newton Aycliffe
A long hard week culminated in a disappointing defeat as top of the table West surrendered their unbeaten run to local rivals Newton Aycliffe.
After 120 minutes on Saturday and a hard top of the table clash with Whitley Bay on Tuesday, a Friday night local derby appeared to be just that bit too much for some of the players with West's high pressure and slick passing style rarely in evidence.
Having said that nothing should be taken away from Aycliffe who took advantage and could had a much greater margin on the score line.
They could have led as early as the third minute when Broom set up Jardine and Mark Bell had to save from the former West forward. Jonny Gibson had to clear Darren Craddock's glancing header off the line 2 minutes later as Aycliffe signalled their intentions from the off.
West saw half chances for John Parker and Mattie Moffat before another ex West winger nearly came back to haunt his old Club - the ball moved across to Stuart Owen whose near post shot was well saved.
Adam Nicholls fired wide after a good run then Mark Stephenson possibly should have given West the lead. A free kick found the defender unmarked but Scott Pocklington was equal to his header from 6 yards with the ball bouncing back off the centre back for a goal kick.
However Aycliffe were quickly back on the front foot and they opened the scoring in the 29th minute. It was an excellent move from the visitors with Phil Gray's left wing cross finding Elliot Gardner who control well and laid the ball into the path of Broom and the winger rifled a shot into the top corner.
The Division's newcomers nearly went into the break two ahead - more good play setting up Gardner whose effort was well held by Mark Bell.
HT: West Auckland 0-1 Newton Aycliffe
An Aycliffe break nearly saw the visitorsextend their advantage - with 4 on 2 Jardine's pass was thanfkully intercepted by Steven Brown and he was able to clear to safety.
West had come out better at the start of the half and Stuart Banks saw an effort pushed round the post before sub Dan Hindmarsh flighted an effort wide after spotting Pocklington off his line.
The Newtonians grabbed the vital next goal to give them a 2 goal cushion in the 63rd minute. Gardner's ball past the defence found Jardine in acres of room and he returned to haunt his old side by hitting a blistering shot across goal and into the top corner despite Bell's best efforts to keep it out.
West began to create chances albeit unable to make an impression on the Aycliffe goal with Hindmarsh, Rae and Moffat all firing off target. It was looking like a frustrating end to a tremendous run that has seen West possibly set a new Club record with 15 unbeaten games.
The frustration nearly boiled over for West with Jonny Gibson fortunate not to receive a second booking seconds before being brought off. Having been booked 5 minutes earlier, the midfielder threw the ball into the ground after a decision went the other way and the referee decided to only speak to Gibson and captain Moffat to avoid West going down to 10 men.
West battled to the end with Hindmarsh firing agonisingly across the face of goal then they were able to reduce the arrears and set up a grandstand finish with 5 minutes left. Micky Rae tried to turn John Close who appeared to block the ball with his arm in the area and from the spot Alex Francis fired home.
This led to one way traffic and Francis saw a shot deflected wide before sub Matthew Coad's effort was also deflected off target as West looked to scramble a late equaliser. Aycliffe though held on and despite the late pressure deservedly left with all 3 points on their first competitive visit to Darlington Road.
FT: West Auckland 1-2 Newton Aycliffe