Plenty of positives despite Town defeat

Whickham 3 Alnwick Town 0

Northern League, Division Two

Alnwick Town’s first match without former manager Paul Yeadon ended in defeat, as the St James’ Park side crashed to their seventh straight Northern League, Division Two loss on Saturday.

Steve Mullen took temporary charge of the black ‘n’ whites for the clash against Whickham on Saturday, following Yeadon’s departure a few days before.

But he was unable to help the Northumbrians stop the rot, which has seen them slide down to 19th and become embroiled in the relegation dog fight.

A first-half double from Liam Barnett and a late Ross Peareth effort secured the points for the Tyneside outfit.

In truth, it was a harsh scoreline, in a match which Town dominated for large periods, hitting the woodwork three times and having a goal chalked out for offside.

The game was sponsored by Frankie Peareth, who was captain of Alnwick in the late 1960s/early 1970s, during the halcyon days when Alnwick conquered all before them in a very strong Alliance league.

To add extra interest, Frankie’s grandson is goalscorer Peareth, while another Whickham player is the grandson of another great player for Alnwick Town, John Farrey. Both John and Frankie were members of the Dunston crew during that period of Alnwick’s history.

On a pitch that sloped down and dipped to one side, Whickham made the early running on a wet and greasy surface.

Town made some progress but hosts Whickham took the advantage with a quick-fire double,

With 15 minutes on the clock, Barnett opened the scores with a far-post shot.

Just two minutes later, he added to his tally, this time netting with a looping header.

Whickham were prevented from extending their lead thanks to two fine saves from Town keeper Daniel Mullen.

The Northumbrians came to life and built some momentum towards the end of the half.

Kieran Hogg slid the ball through for Stuart Sullivan but his shot went just wide.

Town then had an effort ruled out for offside.

The visitors came out of the blocks quickly in the second half and had the home keeper scrambling to save a Kenny Collins effort after 47 minutes,

Moments later, Sullivan’s fine shot hit the post.

The St James’ Park side were dominant and the hosts were unable to get over the half-way line and the goalpost came to their rescue again.

Sullivan was put through but the home keeper was quick off his line to smother the shot.

Tony Brown then went close, as his dipping shot from outside of the area crashed against the cross-bar.

In the dying minutes, with Alnwick pushing players forward, they were caught on the break and Peareth scored Whickham’s third.

It left Town reflecting on a match in which they lost in the opening 20 minutes.

The black ‘n’ whites now move to Saturday, when they host South Shields in a league clash, kick off 3pm.

Alnwick Town (v Whicham): D Mullen, B Murray, A Makin (D Hills), D Lowes, T Macpherson, K Hogg, J Jackson (P Murray), T Brown, S Sullivan, K Collins (R Straughan), J Lowes.