Back in the comfort zone

STL NORTHERN LEAGUE, DIVISION TWO

Alnwick Town...3 Whickham...1

OFF the back of a midweek defeat, a comfortable victory for Alnwick Town on Saturday saw them break a run of six league games without a win, going back to September.

The 3-1 win over Whickham, which saw the home side 3-0 up after 72 minutes before conceding a late consolation goal, was also the first league victory for new management duo Danny Olson and assistant Rob Marshall.

At the break, Alnwick were in control but only a goal up, thanks to a Tom McPherson finish in the 37th minute.

Two further goals from Neil McFarlane and Scott McMullen put the game to bed and guaranteed the three points although Paul Cavanaugh handed Whickham a consolation in the 90th minute.

Whickham, who were riding high in the league in sixth place, fielded a strong side and had a chance in the second minute when a Graeme King snap-shot went wide.

Alnwick had switched players around to put more emphasis on attack, including Damien Baston for his home debut, and began to dominate the first half. A Jon Colley cross-shot went just wide in the fifth minute before a McFarlane effort was ruled out for offside.

A second chance was disallowed for offside in the 21st minute, this time when Baston freed Kieran Hogg.

In the 29th minute, a quickly-taken free-kick led to McFarlane unleashing a crisp shot which was pushed around the post.

The deadlock was finally broken shortly before the interval when McPherson put away a cross from the left wing (1-0).

Alnwick took up where they left off in the second half as Baston’s inside pass for Colley led to a snap-shot, which Craig Rook cleared.

In the 48th minute, the first slip-up by the home defence allowed Graeme King to cross to Dominic Elliott for a free header but despite having plenty of time he put it wide.

But the pressure from Alnwick eventually told and in the 60th minute, goal number two arrived when Colley had a good run into the box and made a short pass to McFarlane, who rounded the keeper before shooting home (2-0).

The third goal and the three points were wrapped up in the 72nd minute from an Alnwick free-kick out towards the left. The ball hit the crossbar but the rebound fell to McMullen to head into an empty net (3-0).

With Whickham finding it near impossible to get near the home penalty area due to good defending and very poor passing, McMullen fed Colley to round the full-back and his shot was pushed away by Whickham keeper Scott Creswell, who was having a great game.

Late in the day, Whickham scored their consolation when a cross found Cavanaugh clear to hit a rising shot to beat Brian Brooks.

The Alnwick team is adapting to their new style of fast football on the ground, cutting down on the long, high ball.

Town are in action again this Saturday when they travel to Northallerton, kick-off 3pm.

Alnwick: Brooks, Murray, Catlow, McMullen, Patterson, McPherson, Baston (Willis), Brown, McFarlane (McKenley), Colley, Hogg (Hodge). Sub: Davidson.