STOCKTON 6 ALNWICK TOWN 1
Northern League Division Two
Stockton, with only two wins from ensuring promotion to Division One, have been strong contenders from day one, so Alnwick were facing an uphill battle on Saturday.
Jay Hornsby made his debut as Town aim to bring more new, younger players into the squad and he put in a good show for the whole game. Sammy Walton was not available due to work commitments.
Stockton play on a 3G pitch next to an educational academy with three junior pitches marked out across the pitch.
The opening quarter was pretty even with the home side having the edge on possession.
Alnwick’s best chance came when Ryan Douglas curled a long-range high ball, which caught out home keeper Liam Jordan who had to back-pedal to tip over.
Stockton went close with a left-wing move, allowing Kean Hayes room to hit a powerful ground shot which Town keeper Glasper was up to.
The home club opened the scoring through Max Craggs who was on hand to poke home at the far post (1-0).
Alnwick were getting more used to the pace and bounce of a 3G pitch when they could have drawn level after Luc Glasper sent the ball long for Sammy Perez to control it and send in a cross which just eluded Josh Hay powering through.
The home team went two up with Kallum Hannak overlapped down the left to cut in and score (2-0).
It was clear to an observer that Stockton were well versed in the properties of a 3G pitch as well as being a good team, but were nearly caught out when home keeper Liam Jordan ventured too far and Perez sent a looping ball over and Jordan struggled to get back. To his relief, he saw the ball drift by, with Hay and Gair following up.
Alnwick’s Hornsby, Hay and Perez, backed up by Wilson and Gair, were causing Stockton headaches through the middle when Hay forced himself through and keeper Jordan had to charge out to block his shot at the last second.
Alnwick were starting to gain more control of the game and their pressure a couple of minutes off half-time paid off when Alnwick were awarded a free-kick some 10 yards out.
Tony Brown sent a high swerving shot beating Jordan all ends up.
Half-time arrived with Stockton having the edge and just about deserving their 2-1 lead.
In the first 10 minutes of the second half, Alnwick continued where they left off but Stockton regained their two-goal margin when Kean Hayes controlled a long ball to shoot home (3-1).
Stockton made the game safer with their fourth by Cragg via the crossbar (4-1).
The home side could smell promotion and scored two more in the last 10 minutes.
Alnwick were still pushing and not lying down. Lee Dundas was denied a goal at the far post. Connor Power, also on as sub, nearly scored with a stray shot.
The referee blew for full-time with Stockton 6-1 and winning promotion.
Stockton are a very good side and will do well in Division One but again Alnwick deserved some credit for playing good football without deserved result.
Alnwick are at home for the last game of a very hard season and deserve your support.
Next game: Alnwick v Thornaby, Saturday, kick-off 3pm.