A goal either side of half-time condemned Alnwick Town to their fourth league defeat of the season.
The threadbare black ’n’ whites, who were missing a number of regulars including club captain Bryan Murray, were unable to build on their midweek win over Thornaby, as they slipped to a 2-1 defeat at Esh Winning.
Dan Reeves and Jason Brazauskas scored for the hosts to hand the County Durham outfit maximum points in Saturday’s Ebac Northern League Division Two encounter.
James Jackson gave Town a second-half lifeline but it proved nothing more than a consolation.
The St James’ Park side find themselves in the bottom three.
Despite missing a number of players, Town started well and had early opportunities.
Lively frontman Wyn Fremlin was causing the Winning defence problems and twice went close in the opening 10 minutes.
At the other end, Winning’s Gary Turton blasted over.
With five minutes of the first half to play, the hosts took an undeserved lead, thanks to Reeves’ snapshot .
Things got worse for Town five minutes after the interval when Winning extended the lead.
A quick free-kick saw Turton pass to an unmarked Brazauskas who slotted past stranded Alnwick keeper Brian Brooks.
Winning should have gone three-up soon after but Turton fired over from close range.
At the other end, Jackson forced a good save from home stopper Gareth Young.
Town went close again but were denied by Winning defender Daniel Mitton who had to clear the ball off the line.
The St James’ Park side’s pressure eventually told when Jackson headed in from a Hogg corner on 71 minutes.
But Town were unable to find an equaliser and left County Durham empty handed.
Despite the defeat, Town played some nice football and the Reserve players who came in to the side performed well.
The lack of a cutting edge continues to haunt Town though and the black ‘n’ whites need to start turning their chances and dominance of games into goals.
Town play Whickham at home on Saturday (kick-off 3pm) in the league.
Alnwick Town (v Esh Winning): B Brooks, A Makin, N Catlow, A Tait, T McPherson, D Hills (G Convery), M Nixon (J Jackson), J Colley (C Kidd), P Hodge, W Fremlin, K Hogg.
○ Alnwick played Ryhope CW in the league last night. Visit www.northumberlandgazette.co.uk today for result and details.