Alnmouth make club history by reaching first Minor Cup final
Alnmouth have won through to the final of the Northumberland Football Association Minor Cup for the first time in their history after beating Longbenton in the semi-finals on Saturday.
Unfortunately, there was heartache for another local side, Shilbottle, as they were beaten in their last-four clash by Ponteland United.
Alnmouth United 1
Alnmouth will play in the Minor Cup final for the first time after dispatching Northern Alliance first division side Longbenton by the narrowest of margins with Kevin Bell registering the game’s only goal midway through its second half.
Played out largely in midfield, both sides created few clear-cut opportunities, although, after a sluggish start during which the North Tynesiders were allowed a series of half-chances, Alnmouth held the balance of play for long spells.
United had threatened with efforts from Matty Robson, Peter Murray and a screamer from Reece Wright before the breakthrough finally arrived on 70 minutes when Jonny Quinn’s pinpoint ball from deep was deftly flicked over advancing keeper, Michael Robertshaw by Bell before he ran on to make sure it found the net as defenders crowded in.
Forced to throw caution to the wind, the visitors applied a little late pressure and an FA-supplied linesman’s offside flag denied them a leveller.
However, Alnmouth’s back-line otherwise held firm, and a couple of swift breaks could have added to their tally.
Match Sponsor: Doc’s Bar, Alnwick.
Alnmouth United: M Ashurst, A Martin, J Quinn, R Wright, M Brown (L Jefferson), M Robson (R Taylor), B Rogerson, D Donohoe, P Murray, K Bell, A Murray (J Donohoe).
Ponteland United 1
Shilbottle Colliery Welfare 0
Shilbottle missed a golden opportunity to ensure that the 2016 NFA Minor Cup Final would be an all-North Northumberland affair with this disappointing performance at Ponteland Leisure Centre.
It was the first match at the ground since the end of October, and in a poor game with few chances, the Colliers failed to reach anywhere near their usual standard, and they can have few complaints at going out at the penultimate stage of the contest.
The game got off to a bad start for the Colliers when their captain Chris Graham had to leave the field through injury with less than five minutes on the clock.
Even his replacement, Jake Lowes, failed to see out the game due to a head injury.
The first half saw Ponteland have the bulk of the play, but a couple of fine saves by Shaun Straker in the Shilbottle goal saw the interval arrive with the Colliers a little fortunate to be all square and the game goalless.
It was Ponteland who finally broke the deadlock on the hour when a shot from Zac Bewley from the edge of the box found the bottom corner.
The Colliers finally came to life in the last 15 minutes and should have drawn level when Liam Brooks twice broke clear, but with only the keeper to beat, he shot wide on both occasions.
A cracking save by Dan Mullen in the Ponteland goal from a close-range Michael Saunders header five minutes from time kept his side in the lead, and when another Saunders header was blocked on the line shortly after the game was up for the Colliers.
Shilbottle: S Straker, R Douglas, C Graham, J Giles, M Saunders, R Stewart, C Flanighan, M Graham, L Brooks, J Hay, J Henderson, J Lowes, K Collins, R Hume.