By Luke Vinton (@LukeVinton_)
West Allotment Celtic were hammered 5-1 by Newton Aycliffe, thanks to a hat-trick from in-form striker John Campbell.
Campbell, the top goalscorer in the Northern League, opened proceedings (7) before grabbing his second, squeezing the ball into the net from a corner.
Allotment’s Shaun Reay got his side back into the game with a wonderful free-kick (31), before three second-half goals from Jordan Ladler, Alan Harrison and John Campbell helped Aycliffe settled the tie.
West Allotment went into the game off the back of a heavy away defeat to Dunston. Their opponents had also suffered defeats to North Shields and league cup opponents Shildon.
Allotment had endured a humiliating reverse fixture to Aycliffe, losing 8-1 and it started badly once more as John Campbell scored early on.
After Paul Stoneman was put under pressure from a poor pass, Stoneman’s intended header back to Allotment goalkeeper Chris Bannon was weak and allowed Campbell to get in-between and head beyond a rushing Bannon for his 20th league goal of the season.
Newton Aycliffe doubled their lead as Campbell got his foot to a swinging corner and steered his strike in at the front post.
West Allotment refused to back down and were rewarded with a lifeline due to Shaun Reay. After the home side were awarded a free-kick 25 yards from goal, Reay ran forward an unleashed a powerful strike which flew into the top left corner.
In the second half, Aycliffe began as brightly as they had in the first half. They regained their two goal cushion after an acute through ball was played to Jordan Laidler. With time and space, Laidler placed a low strike into the bottom right corner to make it 3-1.
Substitute Alan Harrison put the game to bed with Aycliffe’s fourth goal. After Chris Bannon managed to save Dennis Knight’s strike, the rebound fell to Harrison who side-footed the ball into an empty net.
John Campbell was determined to grab his third goal and claimed his hat-trick late on. After racing onto a through ball, Campbell surged towards goal before firing a fierce shot beyond Bannon to make it 22 goals in 23 league matches.
West Allotment Celtic will now face high-flying South Shields in their next league fixture at Whitley Park on Wednesday night.