Cup hope ends at first hurdle

Alnwick and Birtley Town 'Photo Lee Harrison.
Alnwick and Birtley Town 'Photo Lee Harrison.

Alnwick Town 3

NorthShields 5

Northumberland Senior Cup

In an entertaining game, but one where they again had grievances with the referee, Alnwick fell at the first hurdle in the Northumberland Senior Cup.

At St James’ Park on Tuesday night, Town, who are languishing at the bottom of the league, managed to score three times, but found themselves on the wrong side of an eight-goal tie.

North Shields, who play in the Ebac Northern League Division Two with Alnwick, but sit 10 places above them at the moment, were two-nil up early in the first half, with the first goal coming from a Keith Douglas free-kick in the fifth minute.

And five minutes later, a cross from the left from Joe Elliott undid the Alnwick defence again and Andrew Hay headed home.

But before the break, Shields were also down to ten men after John Hook was sent off for a two-footed tackle.

Taking advantage of the extra man, Alnwick got back on level terms after the interval thanks to Tom Vickers, who headed home in the 53rd minute, and Daniel Thompson, who finished with a similar effort two minutes later.

Unfortunately, the home side were not on equal terms for long before the referee awarded a dubious penalty to the North Tyneside club, when a player went down in a goalmouth scramble.

Alnwick had a chance to level the first-round tie again shortly afterwards, but Wyn Fremlin hit the post.

But the game was put beyond the home side’s reach when Shields netted twice more, with the first of them again coming from a Douglas free-kick in the 75th minute. He completed his hat-trick when he pounced on a defensive mistake.

However, Alnwick did grab one goal back in the final stages when Tom McPherson headed home a Tony Brown cross two minutes from time.

Their Senior Cup dreams are over for another year, but it leaves the St James’ Park side to concentrate on the league and the battle to get off the bottom of the league, after six consecutive league defeats (see Saturday’s report, below).

Team: Brooks, Lowes, Catlow, Tate, McPherson, Murray, Jackson (Vickers), Brown, Fremlin, Thompson (Kennedy), Hogg (Nixon).


Alnwick Town 0

Birtley Town 1

Ebac Northern League, Division Two

Alnwick Town finally hit the bottom of the league as they fell to their sixth defeat on the trot on Saturday, in a game where they should have had a share of the points.

The St James’ Park side have now taken just four points from their opening 11 games in the Ebac Northern League, Division Two.

In an end-to-end first half at home to Birtley Town, Alnwick had the ball in the net after 29 minutes when Tom Vickers won a 50/50 ball with the visitors’ keeper. The referee awarded a free-kick to Birtley though and it remained 0-0 at the break with both sides having had their share of good chances.

A period of pressure saw a three-man move allow Daniel Thompson a shot which hit the post on 50 minutes, before Tony Brown curled a free-kick just wide 20 minutes later. But it was heartbreak for the home side when John Martin’s cross-goal pass found Luke Wilson to slot home from five yards.