Alnwick Town...2 Ponteland United...2
Pin Point Recruitment Northern Alliance Football League, Premier Division
A CROWD of more than 200 saw Alnwick entertain fellow title-chasing side Ponteland at St James’ Park, an exciting game played more like a cup tie than a league match.
Both teams battled for the upper hand in the early stages of a game played at high tempo in humid conditions and it was the visitors who broke the deadlock in the ninth minute, Dean Gate firing in a shot though a crowded area (0-1).
It did not take long for Alnwick to level the game from a Scott McMullen corner to the front post in the 11th minute. Midfielder Tony Brown’s glancing header beat Ponteland keeper Gareth Powell (1-1).
Alnwick pressed and could have gone in front on 20 minutes, Dale Kennedy dispossessing a defender on the edge of the penalty area before his low shot went the wrong side of the post.
Alnwick were having their best spell of the game. Chris Moffet found himself in space as he broke from midfield and his shot from just outside the area was magnificently saved by Powell, tipping the ball just over the bar.
Moffet again was in the thick of the action, firing another shot from a wide position, which again Powell tipped round the post.
On 40 minutes, Alnwick went in front. A powerful free-kick from McMullen just inside the Alnwick half from a central position was challenged in the area by Tony Brown and a Ponteland defender who possibly got the final touch as it looped over Powell’s head and into the net (2-1).
Brian Brooks, in the Alnwick goal, made a great stop at full stretch, tipping the ball wide just before the interval following a Ponteland corner.
Ponteland levelled the game on 50 minutes as Alnwick failed to clear their lines and Paul Hodgson’s effort from the edge of the area flew into the corner of the goal (2-2).
Ponteland pressed and were twice denied by Brooks in the Alnwick goal.
Alnwick’s best chance of the half came from a Moffet free-kick, which just went the wrong side of the post.
Ponteland pressed but could not find a way through the Alnwick rearguard and both earned a hard-fought point. Alnwick were the better side in the first half and Ponteland edged the second period.
Man-of-the-match for Alnwick was centre-half Gary Patterson who was outstanding and special praise went to Danny Lowes, who slotted into an unfamiliar sweeper’s role.
Alnwick: B Brooks, N Catlow, D Lillico, D Lowes, G Patterson, S McMullen, T Brown, K Elliot, M Cockburn, C Moffet, D Kennedy, M Armstrong, B Keenan, J Swordy, G Bails. Pizza Royale man-of-the-match: Gary Patterson.