Anxious wait for Town fate

Alnwick Town will finish in the relegation places of Northern League Division Two, but they could still be granted a stay of execution.

The Northumbrians battled to a creditable 0-0 draw with high-flying Jarrow Roofing on Monday night, but it was not enough to haul them to safety.

It means that, regardless of what they do in their final game of the season against Washington on Saturday – coincidentally their 1,000th Northern League match – the St James’ Park side will not be able to catch third-bottom Esh Winning.

But even though they will finish in the dropzone, they could still could retain their Northern League status next season, because of factors out of their hands.

The promotion-pushing sides from the Northern League’s feeder leagues are still waiting to hear if they will be accepted at a higher level.

The teams in the mix are Willington FC, from the Wearside League, and Heaton Stannington, from the Northern Alliance.

A decision on this is primarily one for the FA, which is due to be arranging inspections of both grounds. However it is understood that this has not yet been done.

On top of that, Ryhope CW, who are second in Northern League Division Two, have had their ground inspected by Northern League chiefs and are waiting to see if it is at the required standard.

If not, then they could be relegated.

A decision on Ryhope will be made at the Northern League’s meeting tonight, but will have to be ratified by the FA’s leagues committee on May 17.

It all has different implications on Town’s fate, and could mean they will not go down.

But they are sure to endure a nervous wait.

Northern League chairman Mike Amos said: “I appreciate that there’s a great deal of uncertainty and anxiety, but at the moment matters are out of our hands.

“Alnwick Town have done a tremendous amount of work around the ground and in the community and we’d be very sad to lose them.

“In any case, I look forward to raising a glass on Saturday to the club’s 1,000th Northern League fixture.”

Saturday’s landmark match, which kicks off at 3pm, takes place at Alnwick and the club will be keen to finish the season with a win and mark the occasion in style.

The club will be presented with a special plaque to honour the milestone.

Club chairman Tom McKie said: “It is a landmark. Saturday will be a big day for the club.”

Mr McKie admiited that it was frustrating not knowing where Town would be playing next season.

But he said that no matter what happens, the future of the club remains bright.

On Monday, Town showed that they are capable of competing at Northern League Division Two level by holding high-flying Jarrow Roofing to a 0-0 draw.

But their recent form has not been good enough.

That, coupled with a revival by Esh Winning a few weeks ago, saw Alnwick fall back into the relegation zone.

On Saturday, Alnwick lost 4-2 at home to Whitehaven.

As early as the ninth minute, Town were behind.

A poor back-pass left kepper Brian Brooks stranded and Craig Robson scored for the visitors.

Things got even worse in the 19th minute when Robson put Whitehaven two-up, capitalising on a long cross-field pass.

Town grabbed a lifeline just after the half-hour thanks to Ben Keenan.

The black ‘n’ whites went 3-1 down in the 51st minute.

An awkward bouncing ball ended up at the feet of Matt Tymon who duly converted.

Just one minute later, and Alnwick scored their second, through Tony Brown after good work from Kieran Hogg and Chris Moffat.

Whitehaven made sure of all three points in the 65th minute, thanks to Stuart Shaw.

Brooks pulled off a fine save shortly after to keep Alnwick in with a slight shout, but the hosts were unable to get back into the contest.

Alnwick v Whitehaven: Brooks, Makin, Catlow, Murray, Patterson, McPherson, Brown, Kidd (Colley), Moffat (Thompson), Keenan (Jackson), Hogg. Subs: Tait, Dundas.