Alnwick Town 5 Heaton Stannington 3
Northumberland Senior Cup, Round One
If goals are what you are looking for, then St James’ Park is the place to be.
In the space of four days, the net has been rattled 16 times in two cup matches. That’s certainly more bang for your buck!
Thankfully, for those of the black ‘n’ white persuasion, at least, the majority of these have been in Alnwick Town’s favour.
A 5-3 FA Vase victory over Pickering Town on Saturday was followed by a convincing win against Heaton Stannington on Tuesday night, by the same scoreline and on the same pitch.
And it wasn’t just about quantity in this action-packed midweek cup belter. There was quality too. Alnwick’s hat-trick hero Jon Colley epitomised this with his first of the evening; a crisp volley from inside the area.
His other two goals, coupled with strikes from Tony Brown and Darren Riddell, ensured Alnwick’s safe passage through to the quarter-finals and secured their third win in a row in all competitions.
But manager Derek Atwell saw his side get off to the worst possible start, when fellow Northern League, Division Two side, Heaton Stannington, opened the scoring in the very first minute; lethal forward Jonathan Wright tearing down the channel before lashing in.
Alnwick came close to levelling, but Brown and Adam Shanks both pulled their efforts just wide.
Colley made it 1-1 in the 22nd minute with that stunning volley, but Alnwick found themselves behind almost immediately when Joseph Wear smashed in from close range.
In what a goal-crazy period of the game, Alnwick levelled through Colley on 27 minutes before Brown struck just before the half-hour. Tenacious left-back Kieran Hogg, who caused problems all night, played a big part in both goals.
Colley completed his hat-trick 10 minutes into the second half with a tap-in, before Darren Riddell added Alnwick’s fifth three minutes later.
Ben Telford put new life into the tie, scoring Heaton Stannington’s third with 15 minutes to go, but Alnwick saw the game out to bag a deserved win.
Alnwick Town: S Straker, D Palmer, K Hogg, R Straughan, T Macpherson, K Douglas, D Riddell, T Brown, A Shanks, D Lowes, J Colley. Subs: G Mbiavanga, D Atwell, B Murray, R Douglas.
Alnwick Town 5 Pickering Town 3 – The FA Vase, Second Qualifying Round
Adam Shanks struck four times to help Alnwick Town continue their FA Vase adventure.
He scored twice in the first half before sealing his hat-trick just after the break. Pickering pulled a goal back only for BradMcClelland to restore Alnwick’s three-goal lead.
Two late goals from the away side ensured a nervy finish, but Shanks sealed the victory on the counter-attack.
Incredibly, the Northumbrians have been handed a further boost in the competition, which stages its final at Wembley Stadium in May.
The St James’ Park side will avoid the first round proper after receiving a bye to the second round, scheduled for Saturday, November 22.
It is the first time Alnwick have reached this stage since the 1975/76 season and could open the door for a massive tie.
The black ’n’ whites will also be hoping for a money-spinning quarter-final draw in the Northumberland Senior Cup, with the likes of Blyth Spartans and Newcastle United U21s waiting.