Battling Alnwick take point from a deserved draw at Thornaby

Thornaby 2-2 Alnwick Town

Monday, 14th November 2016, 3:22 pm
Updated Wednesday, 16th November 2016, 2:55 pm
STRUGGLING -- Holbrook St Michaels.

Alnwick had, as usual recently, rung the changes in the squad for Saturday’s away game against Thornaby.

Josh Hay was suspended for one game and on top of that five players were unavailable for various reasons.

The squad of 12 should be congratulated for a gritty performance, going ahead twice and dropping two points when a very speculative high cross from the touchline floated over and drifted in just under the crossbar and post.

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Prior to kickoff both teams paid their respects to those who died to give us the freedom we now enjoy. The players wore poppies on their sleeves.

It was the home side who made a half chance by Jonathan Burton making space to put in a good shot which Sam Bouttell saved. Play was back and forth when on the 15th minute James Jackson’s free kick to Jake Morrison to hit a clean shot just made it into the side netting.

Thornaby were forcing the pace and went close on two occasions, the first by Karl Charlton, hitting the ball on the volley only to see an Alnwick defender block it as it seemed to be net bound. Their second a few minutes later came when James Rowe took a snap shop which was deflected over the crossbar.

Alnwick were not just sitting and taking it when Matthew Graham floated a cross over to Jake Morrison to shoot inside the box, forcing home keeper Liam Gibbs to scramble.

Jake Morrison made a great run down the right beating two defenders and sent over a great curling cross. Alnwick then forced another chance when a quick break to Liam Brooks onto James Jackson saw him cut in, only to see his shot curl just wide of the upright.

Thornaby dominated possession but Alnwick held their own and made sure the home side took them seriously and it was Alnwick who took the lead a few minutes from halftime when Jake Lowes took a free kick just inside the home half. The ball was played to the far post where Liam Brooks rose above the defence to head in from close range and it was no more than Alnwick deserved having created some good chances.

The last few minutes of the half were hectic for the home defence, kicking it anywhere ,but Alnwick hemmed them in without further score.

Play was pretty even after halftime but it was Thornaby who drew level after 60 minutes when Jonathan Burton broke through the Town defence, who were appealing for offside. Sam Bouttell came out to try and stop him, but Burton rounded him to tap into an empty net for 1-1.

Alnwick took the lead again when Jake Lowes floated a free kick from the left into the box where the home keeper Gibbs could not collect the ball cleanly and Liam Brooks reacted quickly and stabbed the ball home to ake it 1-2.

Whereas in the first half Thornaby had more possession, it was Alnwick for 20 minutes who held the whip hand.

Thornaby’s second was a fluke from a free kick on the right; it was struck very high with both sides looking up for it going out, but the ball dipped and dropped in just under the junction of the cross bar and far post to Mitchell Morris’s surprise, making it 2-2.

The final 15 minutes was end to end without any real advantage to either side.

The Alnwick team deserved full praise for their efforts with a depleted squad and only one sub.

Next home game - is on Saturday (November 19) against Bedlington, kickoff 3pm, when there will be a collection for Marie Curie.