Esh Winning 2 Alnwick Town 2
Northern League, Division Two
Alnwick Town new boy Keith Douglas was the two-goal hero on his debut on Saturday as he rescued a point for his side, who ended this clash with 10 men.
The striker, who had transferred from North Shields the night before, netted two first-half goals as the Northumbrians battled back from 2-0 down.
There was more drama in the second period as Town’s Stephen Hogg was sent off for a second bookable offence.
The incident-packed Northern League, Division Two encounter unfolded in front of new manager Derek Atwell, who was in the dugout on a watching brief.
The trip to Esh Winning was not all about the club’s new boys though.
Tom Macpherson played his 100th game for the black ‘n’ whites and was presented with the Two Bacon Butty Award.
On the pitch, Esh took an early lead when Alex Makin tried to clear a cross-ball, but it deflected into the Town goal in the second minute.
Town responded and came close to grabbing an equaliser.
A slick move involving Tom Vickers and Makin was rounded off by a Douglas shot, but his effort went just wide.
The hosts made it 2-0 when Stephen Parnaby connected with a cross from the right to head in.
The Northumbrians did not allow Esh to dictate the game and pulled one back in the 25th minute.
A Kevin Elliott shot hit the cross-bar, but Douglas, a former Alnwick Town Junior, was alert to shoot home.
Douglas grabbed his second is stunning fashion. The debutant fired in a free-kick from the edge of the area and left the keeper stranded.
The two-goal heroics saw Douglas continue his rich vein of scoring form, taking his Division Two tally to 12 this term.
The hitman had already netted 10 times in the league for high-flying North Shields before his move to Town.
The match was open and being played at a fast pace and the visitors nearly took an early second-half lead when Tony Brown found Douglas, but his effort went wide.
At the other end, visiting keeper Daniel Mullen was called upon to make two tremendous saves from close range. From one clearance, Vickers slotted the ball through to Makin, but his effort went the wrong side of the post.
Soon after, Makin had a shot cleared off the line.
The game changed when Stephen Hogg was given his marching orders.
This allowed Esh to push Alnwick back and Mullen saw more action with another good save from Stephen Parnaby.
In the end, the sides had to settle for a draw.
It left Alnwick third from bottom, with Esh a place below – but the St James’ Park outfit has games in hand and more points in the bank.
Alnwick Town: D Mullen, D Lowes, K Hogg, B Murray, T Macpherson, K Elliott, A Makin (J Lowes), T Brown, T Vickers, K Douglas, S Hogg. Subs: J Jackson, K Collins, D Hills, B Brooks.