Third win on the bounce for new Alnwick manager
ALNWICK TOWN 2
BRANDON UNITYED 2
Alnwick won their third game on the spin under new manager Steve Mullen with a rather nervy affair as the home side threw away a two goal lead but managed to fight back for all three points.
Breaking the pattern of slow starts in recent games, this one saw Brandon litter the opening minutes with chances. all of which were thankfully squandered.
Darren Riddell went close with a header for Alnwick from a Kieran Hogg free kick, before Brandon went close again, this time through skipper James Elli, who was quickly closed down by Brooks, who cleared the danger.
The visitors continued to apply pressure and Tom MacPherson had to clear with a commanding diving header.
The clearance sent Alnwick on a counter attack. from which Tony Brown shot wide.
But on 28 minutes Brown found the target when he opened the scoring. Following a break down the right, the ball was played into the area and headed down into his path, his shot finding a way past Ryan Wilson in the Brandon goal.
This saw a real turn in momentum as Alnwick pressed for a second. Only five minutes later Douglas almost found the head of Schiavetta, with only Wilson, who claimed well under pressure, denying him.
A minute later, Tony Brown took a corner from the right, directing it towards the back post for the head of Tom MacPherson. The centre half’s header was blocked from the line by a defender as the keeper was beaten.
However, the second was added with 37 minutes gone. Another Ryan Douglas cross from a deep position caused problems in the Brandon defence, striking a visiting player on the arm, with the result that a penalty was awarded.
This gave Brown a chance to double his tally from the spot, which of course he took, sending the keeper the wrong way.
Itv was 2-0 at half-time and Alnwick appeared to be in the driving seat, which of course they weren’t.
Callum Brooks had to make a great stop from Ellis to maintain the two goal cushion, and the keeper had to be alert again to deny Clarkson, who had two goes at pulling one back.
The goal everyone saw coming arrived in the 73rd minute, and in controversial fashion.
A second penalty for handball was awarded by the referee after Douglas looked to be struck on the shoulder by the ball outside the box.
Ellis found the net from the spot as Town conceded their first goal in 253 minutes play.
The equaliser followed almost instantly. Brooks was challenged at a corner and the ball fell for Clarkson, who had the easiest job to tap into an empty net.
That made it 2-2 and it looked as if Alnwick had thrown it away.
However, five minutes from time Alnwick launched another attack. Douglas played the ball towards Schiavetta, who let it run for super sub James Jackson.
He hit the ball sweetly first time, catching the shot perfectly, curling it pinpoint into the bottom corner around a helpless Wilson, and in turn putting Alnwick back in front at 3-2.
Brandon had one last go, Anthony Phillipson crossed into the crowded penalty area. Brooks caught the cross but was barged by Ellis. The keeper dropped the ball to the feet of Ellis who tapped in.
But the celebrations were short lived as the referee awarded Alnwick a free kick for the challenge.
As the final whistle went Alnwick were able to celebrate their third successive win and another vital three points for in their bid for survival.