WASHINGTON FC 2 – Newton Aycliffe 0
(Half Time: Washington 0 – Newton Aycliffe 0)
Saturday 16 September 2017 Nissan Sports & Leisure Complex, Washington Road, Sunderland, SR5 3NS Kick off - 3:00 pm Ebac Northern League Attendance: 103
With the arrival of new signings Scott McArdle and Matthew Fisher last week and Cameron Wilson this week, James Clark’s Washington side were beginning to take shape and add depth as they welcomed Newton Aycliffe to the Nissan Sports and Leisure Complex on Saturday afternoon. The Mechanics came into the game still searching for their first win in the EBAC Northern League and bottom of the league’s form table. Both teams found themselves at the wrong end of the table going into the game and were separated by just a single point.
The first half proved to be a classic for fans of a good old-fashioned battle. Neither side were shying away from the challenges which made it an enticing fight to establish dominance, although perhaps not one for football purists. Nevertheless, the commitment shown by both sides all over the pitch made up for a half which presented few chances. Washington’s first real chance to open the scoring came on twenty minutes, when new player Cameron Wilson was set away down the left by a good switching ball from Matthew Waters, however, his cross ran across the face of the goal and eluded everyone. At the other end, Washington had young full-back Matthew Parker to thank as he made a last-ditch block to deny the visitors first blood midway through the half.
The contest in the middle of the park remained fierce but mostly fair; tempers flaring momentarily when a poor challenge was made on Wilson, Newton Aycliffe’s Gavin Wilson receiving a lecture as the officials did well to keep the calm in a hard-fought game. It was the Mechanics’ Ross Gardener however, who received the game’s first booking for a tactical foul to stop Newton Aycliffe on the break after the half hour mark. The half continued with few chances for either side, the only break coming when Michael Laws received treatment after taking a blow to the nose when contesting a header.
The second half picked up from where the first left off as the two sides continued the physical contest. Washington’s best bet at breaking the deadlock appeared to be coming from the left-hand side as Cameron Wilson continued to impress on his debut and deliver some testing crosses for the Newton Aycliffe back line. Shortly after the hour mark, returning player Scott McArdle pinched the ball in a dangerous area and put in Jake Pickard for what seemed a certain opener, however, he placed his shot wide and it remained goalless going into the final twenty minutes.
Washington had begun to carve out more chances in the second half as they settled into the game and looked more confident going forward. They received their just rewards around the seventy-five-minute mark when Matthew Fisher found space and time approximately twenty yards out. He drilled his shot low into the bottom left corner, the hand from Newton Aycliffe keeper Jack McLaren not enough to keep it out. Just minutes after Fisher had opened his Washington account, McArdle did the same with a tremendous strike to the top right corner from a Jake Pickard lay-off. Washington were now dominant and cruising towards their first win of the season. They held out comfortably with the only mentionable moment afterwards coming when Newton Aycliffe’s Jack Oliver lashed out at Dan Gladstone as the Washington keeper ran down the clock. Once again, the officials restored the calm and Oliver received a booking for his troubles.
After the game, manager James Clark called the performance “controlled and measured” and felt his side dominated the entirety of the game adding that he knew it was just a matter of time before the results started going Washington’s way;
“I have no feeling of pressure from anyone else because I believe in the lads. It’s nice to get the win and the clean sheet and we now have something to build on and kick on with.”
When asked on the impact of his new players, Clark said;
“They’ve brought their own individual attributes. They’re very good on the ball, technically, they can keep possession, they’ve got good energy and they’ve been brought in alongside other players to compliment them. Throughout the team we’re very comfortable on the ball… and it’s just about making it all click together.”
Clark feels his side have taken a step closer to completion with the new signings but business is not quite yet concluded as he also keeps one eye on the club’s future;
“There will be more additions just to round things up but it is getting there. It’s still very youthful and that’s part of what I want to build because I don’t just want to build a team for now, I want to build a team for the future. There’s a lot of players of youthful age, with that comes some mistakes and inconsistencies but it’s how we react to those mistakes and how we deal with them. But they’re all learning rapidly and you see from today what can be achieved when it’s done right.”
Washington now turn their attentions to Dunston UTS in the FA Vase next Saturday. The teams have already met twice so far this season, in the league and FA Cup, with Dunston winning on both occasions. Clark says he expects a physical game while also hoping for “third time unlucky for them.”
Dunston TUS (Away)
Buildbase FA Vase
UTS Stadium, Welllington Road, Dunston, NE11 9JL
Kick off 15:00
|16/09/2017||3:00 pm||Northern League Division 1||2017/18|