Alnwick Town 2-3 Blyth AFC
Following the shock resignation of manager Ritchie Mitchell the previous week, it was confirmed two hours before kick off that Steven Mullen and Derek Atwell are now in charge of team affairs with Georgi Raev assisting.
In the end they went down 2-3 at home to Blyth AFC, but there were some encouraging signs, giving the new management team something to work on.
Town had four players missing from the squad but again three players from the Reserves stepped up.
Alnwick set off at a fast pace, but the game was only minutes old when a line official sustained a leg injury. The referee had to hold the game up for six minutes for treatment and until a replacement volunteer could be found to take over.
It was Blyth who drew first blood after 15 minutes when Gary Day netted his first of two goals for the visitors.
Following a melee at the far post the ball was cleared but hit an Alnwick defender, two yards out Day’s shot was deflected behind Town keeper Dan Mullen.
If Blyth thought they had an early pay day they were in for a shock, as Alnwick hit back on the 20 minute mark, when James Jackson found Chris Laidlaw who run clear and deflected a chip off the advancing Blyth keeper Bannon.
Alnwick were matching their opponents in the midfield areas of the pitch, but the high-flying visitors regained the initiative when they took the lead for a second time with a shot from Bobby Taylor.
Although it was a terrific effort, going in just under the bar, Alnwick were at fault for standing off and inviting the shot.
In the second half there were a number of near misses at either end, with home centre forward Young feeling particularly agrieved when he ran through and chipped Blyth keeper Bannon, only to see his effort bounce back off the crossbar and into the keeper’s grateful hands.
Alnwick were slowly grinding the fancied Blyth down, but Blyth showed that they were a potent force when Day ran across the town defence to angle a shot in, leaving Mullen no chance with a tap-in from close range, making it 3-1 to the visitors.
Town were not out of it and they gave themselves some hope when another long ball enabled Young to race through and put it away with some aplomb.
In the final quarter of an hour Town dominated and Blyth continually tried to waste time by playing the ball into the corners.
It was a tactic which worked, for Alnwick were unable to find a third goal which would have earned them a point.
Overall, this was a gutsy and resilient performance by Alnwick and one which the new management team can be proud off.
Next home game is on Saturday, November 11 v West Allotment, ko 3pm.