Billingham Town 3-1 Alnwick Town
Alnwick came into the game with the previous Saturday’s fine win but a 4-2 defeat midweek against Heaton Stannington in the Northumberland Senior Cup for which they had only themselves to blame with two mistakes.
Alnwick had four regular squad players out at a wedding, injury and work so brought in Lee Dundas and Jake Morrison who both came on as subs and put in a good shift.
This latest venture to Billingham Town and North Yorkshire ended in a 3-1 defeat for Alnwick. Defeated but Alnwick were the better side overall having the best chances.
It was the home team who had the first chance when Ashley Lavan cut in and took an early shot, easily saved by Alnwick keeper Dominic McMahon. Alnwick immediately hit back when Liam Brooks tested home keeper Thomas Davison. This was immediately followed by Josh Hay who turned his market to hit a strong ground shot which had home keeper Thomas Dawson struggling. Alnwick’s defence was coping well and Tom McPherson had to be alert to cut out a goal bound shot.
Alnwick should have scored first when Matthew Graham challenged a high ball from the left he turned and shot from five yards and the home keeper knew nothing saving with his face at point blank range.
Alnwick hit a purple patch with two great chances in 10 minutes from Tony Brown and Joshua Hay. It was Tony Brown at the other end a few minutes later when he blocked a shot from point blank range following a full length save by Alnwick keeper Dominic McMahon and Ashley Lavan latched onto the breaking ball to shoot.
There then followed a disastrous five minutes the first on the 40th minute when Jamie Davis latched onto a through ball. The trouble was he was so far offside he was nearly on first name terms with Alnwick keeper Dominic McMahon, but there was no flag. To add insult to injury, a couple of minutes later Alnwick claimed an obvious penalty when a forward was floored without the ball (no whistle). The next minute Liam Brooks broke clear and forced the home keeper to make a brilliant one handed save.
Billingham made it 2-0 due to a mistake in midfield and Elliott Beddow made Alnwick suffer. Halftime arrived with Billingham 2-0 up which was an injustice.
Alnwick had to sub Liam Brooks at halftime due to injury and brought on Jake Morrison. Following early pressure by Alnwick they hit back when Ryan Douglas crossed to the near post for Tony Brown to stoop and head in from 10 yards, making it 2-1.
Alnwick applied pressure and they thought they should have had another penalty when Jake Morrison was fouled in the box.
Dominic McMahan had to make a terrific save from Luke Hogan from close range. Billingham were taking a bit more control at stages but again quick play by Tom McPherson through to Darren Riddell from a defence clearance to Ryan Douglas to Jake Morrison to hit a hard rising shot which the home keeper had to save above his head with two hands.
With Alnwick attacking they were caught out to make it 3-1 through Craig Hutchinson in the 80th minute.
There followed a confrontation between eight players in with the Billingham Town centre half Stephen Oakley (captain) grabbed Lee Dundas around his neck so gathered another yellow, turning it into a red. Alnwick had one yellow to five for Billingham.
Dominic McMahon was called upon to make another reflex save. Alnwick were not finished attacking when Lee Dundas set Jake Morrison away and he sent a diagonal ground ball through to Joshua Hall and only a toe on an outstretched foot by a defender made a slight but significant deflection behind Joshua in the clear.