A second half penalty from Glen Taylor was enough to see off a spirited Newton Aycliffe outfit as Moors kicked a ball for the first time in 164 days in front of 150 spectators at Moore Lane.
Taylor, who netted Moors’ final goal against Hereford in March before the postponement of football due to the Covid-19 pandemic, struck with twenty minutes of normal time to play in a game of few clear cut opportunities.
The evening represented the first occasion that supporters were allowed back for Northern League side Newton Aycliffe, with 150 spectators lining the terraces for the first occasion in five months.
Jason Ainsley began with new signings Adam Blakeman, Tyler Forbes and Jason Kennedy in a strong Moors line-up, but it was the home side who showcased their greater match sharpness in an uneventful first half.
Despite being reduced to shots from distance for the most part, Aycliffe’s number 18 should have given his side the lead on the half hour mark, but his bending effort sailed past the far post.
Ryan Hall carved out Moors’ best chance of the half after a neat exchanging of passes with Rob Ramshaw, but he couldn’t direct his left-footed effort on target from inside the area.
Ainsley made alterations at the break with Dale Eve, Stephen Thompson, Adriano Moke and Frank Mulhern entering the action, and it was Thompson who burst into life immediately with a host of sharp shots from distance which narrowly evaded Aycliffe’s goal.
Moors’ tempo and intensity levels increased as the half went on, and it was Thompson again who threatneed when he almost diverted Taylor’s scuffed shot past an inspired Aycliffe keeper.
However, with twenty minutes remaining, Taylor was caught just inside the penalty area to break the home side’s resistance. The striker, who was named in the National League North Team of the Season for the third campaign running in the summer, picked up where he left off by converting the spot-kick into the bottom corner.
There was still time for Thompson to try his luck in an entertaining second half. Mulhern’s persistence down the left ended with a square pass to the winger, but he saw his strike acrobatically clawed away past the post.