ALNWICK TOWN 2
CROOK TOWN 1
Alnwick went into the game with two long term injuries; that of Tony Brown and Brad McClelland.
Crook Town had been relegated from the First Division last season and with a new squad came into the game unbeaten so far, with two good wins.
Alnwick Town were not downhearted following two straight defeats and the mid-week loss at Thornaby was a game where Alnwick dominated the play.
Last time both teams met was at Alnwick in the 2012/2013 season with a win for Crook.
ATFC kicked off and immediately showed their intensions with the fast moving ground game with the first real chance came when a combination of Lowes, Gair and Jackson resulting in a cross to James Jackson whose effort went just wide.
It was in the 16th minute when Crook came close when a free kick outside the box forced Alnwick keeper Nathan Brown to make a fine save. Alnwick went straight onto the attack and a deft chip by Kris Willis made Crook keeper Ryan Graham backtrack and was relieved to see the ball go just over.
Ross Gair was the next one to go near when a cross by Danny Lowes found Ross and storming into the box only to find Crook centre half Jonathan Kemp make a goal-saving tackle. The following two corners had the Crook defence trying to clear the ball and a goal line clearance saved them.
Alnwick finished the first half with another chance when Kieran Hogg broke quickly down the left and sent a great shot which the Crook keeper Ryan Graham had to push wide when James Jackson came in to make the keeper make a close-range save.
The second half started where the first half ended, with Alnwick well on top with sporadic attacks by Crook. It was against the run of play when Crook were awarded a penalty when Tom McPherson was judged to have brought down Joe Grant who was running away from goal but the referee blew for the spot kick. Andrew Wright stepped up to score: 0-1
Their lead did not last long, only 12 minutes when James Jackson robbed Crook keeper Ryan Graham wide on the right near the goal line and calmly slotted the ball home from an acute angle: 1-1.
This made Crook pick up the pace and possession without breaking through the home defence. They faded when Alnwick picked up the pace again, restricting the visitors to the odd attack and Alnwick nearly added a second when panic reigned in the Crook defence: the centre half tried to clear but only resulted in heading over his advancing keeper and just over.
The Crook crossbar was leading a charmed life when Tom McPherson headed over from a Kieran Hogg corner.
Alnwick delivered the killer punch when a fast attack through Darren Riddle (on for Danny Lowes) and Chris Glass (on for Kieran Egen) slotted the ball into Ross Gair to hit a first time rocket leaving Crook keeper Ryan Graham helpless: 2-1 with eight minutes to play.
Alnwick went out worthy winners playing their passing ground game with wide men available for quick attack. It was a good all round display by the team.
After the game, manager Jon Egen said: “I amchuffed to bits for the lads as this one is down to their hard working and self belief and a never say due attitude which we will need call upon time after time this season. I was also as pleased for Mins and Gairza to grab a goal each today as they are working hard to improve as individuals and to help the team grow as a group.”
Team: N Brown, L Dundas (J Dixon), R Baker, K Egen (Chris Glass), T McPherson, RStraughan, D Lowes (D Riddell), K Willis, J Jackson, R Gair, K Hogg.