Alnwick snatch victory in close encounter


Rothbury...1 Alnwick...2

ON a blustery Saturday morning at Wooler, Alnwick secured a narrow win over Rothbury in this U10 Glendale League encounter.

Alnwick started the better of the two sides and enjoyed a lot of early possession. Rothbury, struggling to get into the match, found it difficult to settle on the ball and gave away possession as soon as they gained it.

Alnwick’s first goal followed a period of possession in the Rothbury half. A snap-shot from the edge of the area was smartly saved by Niall Murtagh but the ball rebounded back into the Rothbury area. An Alnwick player showed the greater desire and he triumphantly smashed the ball home (0-1).

After the goal, Rothbury started to get into the game. Gareth Rickaby, playing up-front, looked very threatening when the ball was played to him. Twice he outstripped the Alnwick defence. The first time his shot went just wide of the post.

The second occasion saw him move too wide for a shot and his resulting cross was well gathered by the Alnwick goalkeeper. Both sides found it difficult to keep the ball on the pitch in the windy conditions.

Thorsten Robinson ended the first half by first controlling a bouncing ball and then sending a terrific pass to Rickaby. However, this time he was expertly shepherded by his marking defender.

The second half started poorly for Rothbury. Their midfield dwelt on the ball just outside their own penalty area.

Eventually, a pass was knocked back across the Rothbury area and an Alnwick forward gleefully pushed the ball into the net past the helpless Rothbury goalkeeper (0-2).

The second Alnwick goal roused Rothbury and they enjoyed their best spell of match. Daniel Ewen started making effective tackles in midfield and, aided by Cameron Austin-Walker and Alex Wharrier, he carried the fight to Alnwick.

One such Ewen tackle saw the ball played to Wharrier on the left-flank. Taking it past the full-back, he knocked it into the box. Rickaby won the ball and stroked it past the Alnwick keeper to get one back for Rothbury (1-2).

It was the first goal scored by Rothbury in three games and in the minutes after it seemed that a second was inevitable.

Hugh Dennis was putting his foot on the ball and then sending great passes forward to Wharrier on the left. One such pass saw Rickaby with a chance to run on goal but an Alnwick defender tugged his shirt at the crucial moment and a goal-scoring opportunity was denied.

Dennis was right in the thick of the battle and battle it was when he was sent flying by a very strong challenge on the edge of the Rothbury area.

Yet, for all their endeavour, the clear scoring opportunity could never be created.

The momentum started to ebb from Rothbury and it was Alnwick who finished the game the stronger.

Dennis, along with fellow Rothbury defender Alex Kidd, had to finish the game with last-ditch tackling as Alnwick pressed for a third goal.

Once Alnwick hit the post, next they hit the cross bar and on two further occasions they were denied by fine saves from Niall Murtagh. Rothbury had again fallen just the wrong side of a very close encounter.