Hebburn Town 3 Alnwick Town 0
Northern League, Division Two
There was to be no pre-Christmas cheer for Alnwick Town as their barren run of form continued with a 3-0 loss at Hebburn Town at the weekend.
The Northumberland side are enduring a tough time at present and Saturday’s defeat was their third on the bounce. It left them still searching for their first win in all competitions in more than a month and are seeking their first point since the 4-4 draw with Esh Winning on November 29.
Alnwick’s first-half display wasn’t up to par and the visitors found themselves 2-0 down before the interval.
Stephen Rea opened the scoring for sixth-placed Hebburn when he was allowed room to squeeze in a shot on the quarter-hour.
Alnwick were pushed back most of the time by a lively front-line with the homeside’s midfield pushing up quickly.
This paid dividends in the 25th minute as a good cross from their right sailed over the Hebburn frontmen and the Alnwick defence to find Mark Costello ghosting in at the far post to head in.
Alnwick suffered a setback when Jon Colley suffered a bad ankle injury and had to be subbed immediately. Alnwick changed their formation and brought on Gloire Mbiavanga.
The visitors were gaining more possession without real penetration and suffered twice with some curious offside decisions.
After the break, Alnwick began to take more control of the game, especially after the hour mark and created a number of half-chances.
But Hebburn made the game safe in the 70th minute when John Allen slotted the ball home from a low left-wing cross.
Soon after, Alnwick’s Adam Shanks, who was not getting the service so far, latched onto a defensive error and took a quick shot which the home keeper managed to save.
The rest of the game was mostly Alnwick, but the finishing let them down.
It looked as though Alnwick would end the match with 10 men after keeper Sean Straker brought down a home forward in what appeared to be the penalty area. The referee, however, gave a yellow card and a free-kick.
Alnwick, who are sixth from bottom, have the chance to end 2014 on a high when they play their last game of the year on Saturday. They host Heaton Stannington at 3pm.
Alnwick Town: S Straker, R Douglas (D Lowes), R Hume, R Straughan, T Macpherson, J Loughbrough (D Palmer), J Colley (G Mbiavanga), T Brown, A Shanks, S Hogg, D Riddell.