Alnwick Town 4 Birtley Town 1
Northern League, Division Two
Two goals in each half secured a first win in three matches for Alnwick Town, as they brushed aside Birtley Town on Saturday.
Efforts from Ross Straughan, Jon Colley, Keith Douglas and Kieran Hogg secured the St James’ Park side a welcome victory, which was only their second of 2015.
On a hard, fast pitch with a slight wind, Alnwick started like a sprinter and in the first minute they were awarded a free-kick near half-way.
The ball was floated in on the slight wind into the penalty area where, during the scramble, Straughan was quick to react to hammer his shot into the roof of the net.
Birtley’s first serious attack came when Chris Mordue got clear and it took Town keeper Luc Glasper’s quick reaction to charge out and save on the edge of the box.
Alnwick were causing Birtley a lot of problems when a long, cross-field ball found Colley, but Birtley keeper Mark Fish just intercepted it and fumbled, only gathering at the second grab.
Again, the visiting keeper had luck when he just managed to save from Dominic Schiavetta.
It was only a matter of time before Alnwick increased their lead.
A high ball was fumbled by Fish and Colley, who was back in the side after being injured the previous week, was on hand to fire home in the 26th minute.
In one of Birtley’s rare attacks, their full-back Matthew Soulsby crossed the half-way line on the right and hit an absolute peach of a shot which went straight, slightly rising and Alnwick keeper Glasper had to be at his best to tip the goal-bound shot just over.
Alnwick were good value for their half-time lead, which in truth, could have been more.
Alnwick started the second half in the same vein as they did in the first, with constant pressure on the visitors, who managed a few half-chances through Michael Calvert and a header from Lee Best.
Alnwick extended their lead from the spot in the 55th minute. Douglas cut into the box and was brought down in the area by Craig Cower. The Alnwick man picked himself up and converted the penalty.
Alnwick were playing good attacking football and a Colley effort went just wide.
At the other end, Birtley showed that they could cause problems when, in the 75th minute, a terrific cross by Joe Gill was smartly cut out by Glasper.
That was followed a few minutes later when Best created space in the box to fire in, to make it 3-1. It was nothing more than a consolation though.
Alnwick went close to extending the lead, but Fish made a point-blank save from Kenny Collins.
However, Alnwick did manage to score their fourth in the game’s dying seconds, thanks to a Kieran Hogg free-kick.
It was a good victory for Alnwick, who played well from the first minute.
The win was a welcome tonic for Derek Atwell’s side, who went into the game on the back of defeats against Ryhope CW and Whickham.
Schiavetta put in a good shift for his first game back, while Douglas was man-of-the-match for his display up-front.
The result saw Alnwick fifth-bottom, while Birtley are two places above.
Alnwick are away at Ryton and Crawcrook Albion on Saturday, kick off 3pm.
Team: L Glasper, D Lowes, G Mbiavanga, R Straughan, T Macpherson, K Egan, D Schiavetta (B Murray), T Brown, J Colley, K Douglas (K Collins), K Hogg. Sub: D Atwell.