Five-star Alnwick extend their unbeaten run with home win

Action from AlnwickTown v Stokesley. Picture by Steve Miller
Action from AlnwickTown v Stokesley. Picture by Steve Miller

Alnwick Town 5 Stokesley Sports Club 1

Northern League, Division Two

Action from AlnwickTown v Stokesley. Picture by Steve Miller

Action from AlnwickTown v Stokesley. Picture by Steve Miller

Alnwick Town continued their recent run of good form by going goal crazy against Stokesley Sports Club on Saturday.

The St James’ Park side put in a five-star display thanks to a Stephen Hogg brace and single efforts from Adam Shanks, Tom Macpherson and Keith Douglas.

The convincing home win extended Alnwick’s unbeaten run to three matches, having taken seven points from a possible nine, scoring 11 goals in the process.

The black ’n’ whites went into the game without keeper Luc Glasper, who had to return to Bedlington under the terms of his loan agreement, so Sean Straker came in between the sticks.

Alnwick were keen to avenge a 4-1 defeat at Stokesley earlier in the season and they raced out of the blocks on Saturday, opening the scoring after just three minutes. Kieran Hogg was chopped down in the box and Shanks stepped up to blast home from the spot.

Alnwick did not let up for the rest of the first half and dominated play with Shanks, Brown, Macpherson and Stephen Hogg all going close. Alnwick also had a goal disallowed in the 35th minute for off-side.

Despite Alnwick’s pressure, Stokesley nearly sneaked an equaliser shortly before the break when Connor Campbell hit the cross-bar.

Alnwick started the second period well and increased their lead thanks to a powerful Macpherson header from a corner.

Stokesley grabbed a lifeline in the 60th minute when captain Kristain Kamara made it 2-1 from the penalty spot.

But that was as good as it got for the visitors as Alnwick made it 3-1 a few minutes later when a Jon Colley move down the left found Stephen Hogg who applied the finish.

Stokesley were making sporadic forays forward and Straker had to be alert to save a ground shot from Jack Bradbury. The Alnwick keeper dived at full length to push it around the post.

At the other end, substitute Douglas saw his effort tipped over the bar by visiting keeper Daniel Bowman, before a Shanks diving header forced the goalie into a fantastic save.

Alnwick did go 4-1 up thanks to the alert Douglas, who scored from a quickly-taken freekick, which he hit low into the right-hand corner.

Stokesley were clearly caught out and reacted badly, as an angry mob surrounded the referee, resulting in one of the players being sent off.

Things were to get even worse for the visitors as Stephen Hogg scored his second and Alnwick’s fifth. Shanks crossed into the penalty area and a cheeky Douglas dummy found Hogg, who stabbed home.

Alnwick thoroughly deserved the win and could have been out of sight by half-time. Straker put in a good shift replacing Glasper.

The result saw Alnwick move up two places to 16th, while Stokesley are fourth-bottom in 19th. Alnwick travel to South Shields on Saturday, kick off 3pm.

Alnwick (v Stokesley): S Straker, K Egan, G Mbiavanga, R Straughan (D Lowes), T Macpherson, K Hogg, D Riddle (K Douglas), T Brown, A Shanks, S Hogg (B Murray), J Colley. Subs: B Brooks, D Atwell.

Match sponsor: Hotspur Residential.

Ball Sponsor: Bubble Football North East.

Hotspur 1364 man-of-the-match: Jon Colley.