Glimmer of hope dims to defeat

Alnwick Town v Gilford Park'Action and up to date team pic from today'' Marc Nixon
Alnwick Town v Gilford Park'Action and up to date team pic from today'' Marc Nixon

STL NORTHERN LEAGUE, DIVISION TWO

Alnwick Town...1 Gillford Park...3

PROMOTION-PUSHING Gillford Park inflicted a 3-1 defeat on Alnwick Town on Saturday.

First-half goals from Marc Shiel and Gavin Barton gave the visiting Cumbrians a two-goal lead at half-time.

A late Jon Colley header gave Town a glimmer of hope but a last-gasp 90th-minute Ryan Errington strike put the game beyond the hosts and secured maximum points for Park.

It was Town’s first defeat in three matches, but they could have little complaint.

Although, the Northumbrians felt they were denied a penalty just after the hour-mark – a decision which, if given in their favour, may have changed the outcome of the game.

Despite the defeat, it was an encouraging performance – especially in the second-half – by a Town side still missing a number of regular players.

Town got off to the worst possible start when they went behind after just three minutes.

Keeper Brian Brooks made a tremendous one-handed save but the ball spun out to the left and Shiel was on hand to score from close range.

Park were on top but Gary Patterson had the chance to level the game, but he shot just wide.

The lively Shiel was proving a threat and his overhead kick went just over.

Park did extend their lead in the 25th minute, when they were gifted a needless penalty.

Barton stepped up to score from the spot.

Town nearly grabbed a lifeline with five minutes of the first-half to go, but Bryan Murray’s snap-shot went over.

Park clearly had the better of the first-half, but Town were more impressive in the second period.

Shortly after the interval, Town’s Ben Keenan had two efforts; a half-chance with a shot before he went close with a header.

However, sandwiched in between those two opportunities, Shiel used his pace to create an opening, only to see his shot go wide.

Town continued to probe for a way back into the game, and Colley had two chances, but both went the wrong side of the post.

A possible turning point came in the 65th minute, when Town felt they were denied a clear penalty.

Park’s keeper Ryan Smith scythed Keenan down with a two-footed tackle, which left the Town man injured, but no spot-kick was given.

Murray had another chance for Town, while at the other end, Brooks charged out to put an advancing Craig Wilson under pressure, making the visiting player shoot over.

In the 88th minute, Town grabbed the goal that their second-half play deserved.

Damien Baston crossed deep into the box and Colley headed home.

But in the dying embers of the match, Park extinguished any Town hope when Stuart Bell crossed from the right and Errington shot past a stranded Brooks to secure all three points for Park.

Town travel to Whickham on Saturday, kick-off 3pm.

Alnwick Town (v Gillford Park): Brooks, Lowes (Trotter), Hogg, Murray, McPherson, Dundas, Baston, Patterson, Keenan (McFall), Colley, Hodge (Nixon). Sub: Brown.

l ALNWICK Town are holding a car boot sale on Sunday.

The weekly event takes place at Town’s St James’ Park home between 10am and 2pm.

The regular boot sales are being held to raise money for the club.

Cars are £10 and vans are £12.

Admission is free, with refreshments and clubhouse bar open.

Sellers to arrive at 9am.

Information and bookings to Alan on 01665 720395.