WHICKHAM FOOTBALL CLUB

Finnigan Brace Inspires Whickham To Victory At Aycliffe

Carl Finnigan scored a brace on his competitive debut as Whickham started the new season with a 3-0 victory away to Newton Aycliffe.

The visitors took the lead towards the back end of the first-half as Finnigan’s effort found the back of the net.

Just after the hour mark, Kelvin Thear doubled Whickham’s advantage and the game was put to bed in the closing minutes.

Dale Burrell was fouled in the penalty area and Finnigan stepped up and powered the spot-kick home to secure all three points.

Manager Robin Falcus handed full debuts to six players as Finnigan, Lee McAndrew, Conor Newton, Kieran Galbraith, Tom Howard and Adam Bartlett all started.

It was a fairly quiet start to the game as both sides looked to find their feet in the season-opener. The visitors had a half chance on 17 minutes when Clark Kay headed towards goal.

Whickham started to get a foothold in the game towards the end of the first-half and took the lead on 42 minutes.

McAndrew’s cross, from the right, was helped on by Finnigan. Initially, it appeared that the ‘keeper saved the effort, but Adam Pickford failed to keep out the striker’s effort.

The visitors would’ve been pleased to go in ahead and, after half-time, they picked up where they left off and went close to doubling their advantage.

Thear’s low striker was palmed away, Finnigan’s strike the same before McAndrew drilled an effort across the face of goal and inches wide of the far post.

At the other end, under a minute later, Aycliffe threatened as Dean Thexton held the ball up well, turned into the area and tested Bartlett.

Kieran Galbraith and Shaun Ryder exchanged chances before Whickham doubled their lead, just after the hour mark.

After a strong start to the second-half, Finnigan helped tMcAndrew’s pass straight on to Thear, who controlled the ball before firing home.

Thear could’ve scored his second of the game when he latched on to a ball over the top, but, at the crucial moment, the ball bobbled up and he fired high over the crossbar.

The Lang Jacks continued to threaten to extend their lead, with Chad Collins being denied by the ‘keeper, but a third goal did come, late in the game.

Burrell drove into the penalty area, knocked the ball past the defender and was brought down – the referee didn’t hesitate to point to the spot.

Finnigan picked the ball up with intent, placed it down on the penalty spot and rifled home for his second of the afternoon, which secured all three points on the opening day of the season.

Newton Aycliffe: Pickford, Carr, Wood (Costello, 76), Richardson, McNamara, Brown, Ryder, Hutchinson (Howes, 46), Thexton (Ballan, 70), Green, Harrison

Subs Not Used: Lowrie, Redford

Whickham: Bartlett, Howard, Kay, Grieve, Galbraith, Burrell, Thear (Cowburn, 70), Newton, Finnigan, Collins, McAndrew (Scothern, 80)

Subs Not Used: Bulford, Hedley, Oliver

Goals: 0-1, 42 min, Finnigan; 0-2, 61 min, Thear, 0-3, 86 min, Finnigan (Pen)

Referee: Lewis Sandoe

Assistants: Simon Thorburn and Nigel Bamford

Attendance: 166