Newton Aycliffe 1 Darlington 2

DARLINGTON needed a lastminute goal from Paul Grainger which gave them a narrow win at Newton Aycliffe in front of a bumper crowd last night.

Quakers featured senior players Tommy Wright, Chris Senior and Chris Moore in an otherwise youthful XI, while manager Mark Cooper officially opened the Northern League club’s new stand at a packed Moor Lane Park.

The attendance of 1,307 was more than double that club officials hoped to attract and the huge numbers saw kickoff delayed by ten minutes.

When the action did get under way it was Aycliffe who scored first, Elliot Gardner impressively lobbing Quakers keeper Nick Thompson from almost 30 yards on 33 minutes.

By that stage the visitors had come close to goal on three occcasions.

Two Wright headers were saved by keeper Scott Pocklington, who is a former Darlington trainee, while Moore ran with the ball from the halfway line but was denied by Pocklington. Before halftime Wright had another effort, this time seeing a looping header hit the crossbar.

Both of Darlington’s goals came after the break with teenager Curtis Main scoring the first. It came 18 minutes from time after latching on to a Lee Collings pass and firing past Pocklington and in the dying seconds left-winger Grainger hooked a volley into the bottom corner.

Nevertheless, despite being unable to hang to a draw, the evening was considered a huge success for Newton Aycliffe who are preparing for their second season in the Northern League.

Newton Aycliffe (4-4-2): Pocklington, Mitton, Davies, Stout, Oliver, Tarling, Broom, Raitt, Byrne, Gardner, Owen. Subs: Richardson (gk), Robinson, Woodhouse, Petch, Knox, McMullen, Hall, Campbell, Heckley Shepherd, Mellanby Darlington (4-4-2): Thompson; Barnes, Hutchinson, Burn, P Gray; Moore, Main, Hopson, J Gray (Grainger 45); Wright (Baxter 45), Senior (Collings 45). Subs (not used): Bartram (gk), Ramshaw Attendance: 1,307