Alnwick Town 4-4 Brandon
Alnwick came into this game with a fine mid-week 1-4 win away to Ryton and Crawcrook.
The whole game was played in torrential rain making you think you were watching water polo in Rio. Alnwick forward Liam Brooks scored a hat-trick, Brandon forward Shane Todd scoring four inclucing a dodgy penalty for Brandon, and a dead cert penalty for Alnwick was dismissed when Liam Brooks was floored by Brandon centre half Michael Haley, all of which saw the last two games at Alnwick scoring 18 goals.
Alnwick made some changes with Club Captain Tom McPherson on the bench with a slight injury, Tony Brown not available and McClelland injured in Sunday football.
Brandon was pushed back straightaway as early as the first minute Josh Hay forced Brandon’s keeper into a fine save pushing around the post then a Ross Gair free kick half cleared but headed just over. With Alnwick totally in command they broke the deadlock after the quarter hour when Ross Gair headed down and across the box for Liam Brooks’ perfectly positioned to score the first goal. In the first attack by Brandon when Shane Todd broke clean to score his first of four to equal the score 1-1.
With the constant Alnwick pressure in atrocious conditions kicking into the rain and wind the home forwards forced the Brandon defence into an own goal when Josh Hay cut down to bye-line cross to the far post for Liam Brooks the defender Anthony Field put into his own net under pressure 2-1 to Alnwick.
The Alnwick forwards were tearing the visitors apart and it was no surprise that Alnwick scored again in 35 minutes when Dominic Schiavetta turned the fullback then put in a right cross to Liam Brooks to head in 3-1 to Alnwick. Then the Brandon keeper had to tip the ball over. By this time Alnwick should have been six up but that’s football and Alnwick fell to the proverbial sucker punch just before half-time when Shane Todd again slipped his marker to score with a cross shot. Half-time arrived at 3-2 to Alnwick and the home team had themselves to blame not being at least six up. It must be said that the rain got heavier and the wind got up so attackers had the advantage.
The second half was even worse weather-wise and the referee came out five minutes late hoping it had eased off. On reflection I think Alnwick supporters felt he should have stayed in his dressing room such was his display of the lack of understanding of the rules of football.
Shane Todd scored his third after more pressure by Alnwick with Matt Aisbitt, Josh Hay and Liam Brooks forcing Brandon keeper Thomas Orton to again push around the post and straightaway Shane Todd broke away to score his third and make it 3-3.
With the weather getting worse Alnwick took the lead again for the fourth time when a cross from the wing was met by Liam Brooks to hit a looping header over Brandon keeper for his hat trick to make it 4-3 to Alnwick.
The last 15 minutes was played at a frantic pace belying the terrible conditions and Alnwick trying to make their second win safe.
There followed a shocking decision with what really was Brandon’s last chance when the referee blew and pointed to the spot he said that an Alnwick defender had put his arms out thus preventing the Brandon forward from turning. There was no bodily contact until the Brandon forward turned into the Alnwick defender. Shane Todd stepped up to score his fourth to make it 4-4.
The game was not finished and ended in even more controversy when in the last few minutes Liam Brooks was elbowed in the back, but play was waved on.