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Match Report: North Shields 0 Newton Aycliffe 0 (05/09/20): Robins open season with closely fought draw

The Robins began their 2020/21 campaign with a closely fought draw against Newton Aycliffe, following heroics from both ‘keepers.

Shields came out of the blocks firing, with David Robinson and Callum Smith coming close to an early opening goal.

But Aycliffe aught to have taken the lead before the break, only for Purvis to deny the visitors with a tremendous point blank save.

After Cassidy struck the crossbar in the second half, Adam Pickford performed heroics of his own to deny Ryan Carr a certain goal.

And the Robins had to settle for a point, after Craig Spooner fired over with only minutes to spare.

It only took the hosts eight minutes to register their first effort on goal, with an excellent ball from Cam Cunningham finding Smith at the far post, only for Newton Aycliffe shot-stopper Pickford to eventually smother the ball.

The hosts were piling on the pressure and in the 13th minute, Dan Wilson’s glancing header drifted narrowly wide of the upright, following a swinging Nick Cassidy corner.

After being pegged back in the first quarter, Aycliffe began to create chances of their own, with Andrei Ardelean wasting an opportunity from just inside the box in the 17th minute.

Three minutes later, the visitors came even closer to an opening goal when Adam Burnicle met a Marc Costello cross with his head, but he couldn’t keep the ball down.

After a quiet period of the game, the Robins almost grabbed the lead in spectacular fashion after 36 minutes, with Robinson trying his luck from range, but the ball whistled milimetres over the crossbar.

But once again, Newton Aycliffe were still posing a threat and in the 39th minute, only a world-class reaction save from Purvis denied the visitors a certain goal, after the Robins defence struggled to clear an Ethan Wood freekick.

Just before the break, full back Chris McDonald almost gave the Robins a one goal lead at the break, after collecting a Tom Bexton pass before charging into the Aycliffe half.

Having been afforded far too much space to shoot into, he thundered the ball at the visiting goal but just like Robinson before him, the ball flew the wrong side of the bar by a matter of inches.

Shields continued where they left off in the second half and after 52 minutes, Smith was played in on goal but his angled shot was palmed to safety by Pickford.

Robinson was a constant thorn in the side of the visitors and in the 70th minute, having broken free of the Aycliffe defensive line, he could only scuff his shot wide of the upright.

Backed by a vocal home crowd, the Robins had another glorious chance one minute later, with Wilson directing his effort wide from the edge of the box, after excellent hold up play.

Sixty seconds after that, most at the Daren Persson Stadium thought that Shields had finally made the breakthrough, when Carr towered above his marker at the far post to connect with a cross, only to see Pickford pull off an outstanding save when most gave him no chance.

If anyone was going to score a winner, it was going to be the Robins and with only one minute left on the clock, substitute Craig Spooner almost did just that.

After a Cassidy corner, Wilson flicked the ball on to Spooner but under pressure from desperate defenders, his effort on goal looped over the keeper and on top of the goal.

And despite Andrew Cartwright’s off target shot in injury time, the Robins had to settle for a point to begin the new season.

Final Score: North Shields 0 Newton Aycliffe 0

Attendance: 300

Referee: Alex Clark

North Shields Starting XI: Greg Purvis, Nick Cassidy, Chris McDonald, Gary Ormston, Paul New, Tom Bexton, Cam Cunninghan (Craig Spooner 79), David Robinson, Dan Wilson, Ryan Carr (Andrew Cartwright 79), Callum Smith (Gareth Bainbridge 73)

Unused Substitutes: Paul Robinson, David Hall

Newton Aycliffe Starting XI: Adam Pickford, Oscar Eckley-Aldsworth, Ethan Wood, Lewis Walton (Connor Phelan 66), Marc Costello, Jake Petitjean, Andrei Ardelean (Liam Jarvie 63), Aaron Brown, Adam Burnicle (Ben Dibb-Fuller 76), Arran Wearmouth, Nicholas Green

Unused Substitutes: Aidan McGee, Ryan Redford