Town blown off course

STL NORTHERN LEAGUE DIVISION TWO

Northallerton...3 Alnwick Town...0

ALNWICK travelled to Northallerton on Saturday with high hopes of continuing to buck the trend of recent defeats.

Last week’s 3-1 victory over Whickham had broken their run of six league games without a win.

And the side should have been confident after a strong performance with a new style of fast, on-the-turf play, which saw a first league win for Town’s new management team.

But the bright start to the season where Alnwick blasted out of the blocks to the top of the table may seem a little distant now.

And this tie away at the North Yorkshire side, currently sitting six places above the St James’ Park outfit, proved too much and they slumped to a 3-0 defeat.

Northallerton had two strikes from Carl Chillingsworth sandwiching a Dan Clayton finish to thank for their three points, while Alnwick need to move on and look to bounce back.

The game opened with sustained pressure from a lively home side and it was seven minutes before Alnwick’s first attack, a cross by Paul Hodge, which was fumbled by the home keeper.

Neil Catlaw headed clear on the 10th minute and Alnwick appeared to have contained the home side but, in the 13th minute, a cross by Bulmer was slid home by Chillingsworth giving keeper Brian Brooks no chance (1-0).

It was just reward for the home side’s sustained dominance of the opening exchanges. The pattern of the game did not change, with Alnwick rarely threatening the home goal.

Damien Baston’s header, which flew just past the post in the 21st minute, was the only bright spark.

Northallerton missed a succession of chances and it was only a matter of time before they increased their lead, which they duly did in the 40th minute with Clayton meeting a good cross to slide the second goal past Brooks.

A late flurry of action from Alnwick saw Baston and Tom McPherson go close in the closing minutes of the half.

The second half started much like the first, with Alnwick giving away a succession of free-kicks in dangerous positions.

In the 54th minute, David Iredale made his debut for Alnwick replacing Baston, moving to right-back with Brian Murray moving into the midfield.

Alnwick made a further substitution on 66 minutes, with Kieran Hogg coming on for Paul Hodge.

But the substituion had little impact on the game with the home side comfortably in control. Alnwick made their last substitution in the 76th minute with Kristopher Whillis coming on for Scott McMullen.

Inevitably, the home side scored their third goal in the 82nd minute, with Chillingsworth giving keeper Brooks no chance.

Alnwick must have been disappointed with their display. They did not cope well with a hardy home side, a heavy pitch and the strong winds.

This weekend sees Alnwick welcome Chester-le-Street to St James’ Park and, with the County Durham side struggling in 19th place, Town need to ensure that they maximise their superiority and claim the three points.

Alnwick faced a tough test last night when they travelled to fourth-placed Darlington RA, who have only lost three times at home in the league. See www.northum berlandgazette.co.uk for the result.

Alnwick: Brooks, Murray, Catlow, McMullen Patterson, McPherson, Baston, Brown, McFarland, Colley, Hodge, Hogg, Whillis, McKenley, Iredale, Walton.