Alnwick Town...2 Whitehaven...1
STL Northern League, Division Two
SECOND-HALF goals from Ben Keenan and Gary Patterson helped an injury-hit Alnwick Town return to winning ways on Saturday.
The Northumbrians bounced back from their loss at Brandon United a week before – their first defeat in four matches – to take maximum points against Whitehaven with a 2-1 victory.
This priceless triumph also ensured Town’s Division Two survival, giving them enough points on the board to retain their Northern League Division Two status – a fine effort from this newly-promoted side.
Town went into Saturday’s St James’ Park clash still showing the scars from last week’s bruising encounter at Brandon, with a number of players absent.
Chris Moffet and Keenan started, despite both carrying injuries, while David Hills, who also had a knock, was on the bench.
In fact, Town’s injury woes were so bad, they were only able to name three players on the bench.
But paper-thin Town made a bright start and dominated the first-half.
Jon Colley shot over, Keenan saw his effort palmed away by keeper Stuart Pettitt while visiting player Craig Robson came close to scoring an own-goal.
But Town had nothing to show for their endeavour, with the sides going in level at the break.
The hosts wouldn’t have to wait too long to break the deadlock though, as Town took a deserved lead on 55 minutes.
Damien Baston and Colley produced some good football on the right and found Keenan at the far post, who stretched out his leg to put the ball into the net.
Town went two-up five minutes later.
Baston floated a free-kick to the far post for Patterson to rise above the defence and power a header goal-bound. The ball hit a defender on the line on the way through, but the goal was given to Patterson.
Whitehaven grabbed a lifeline on 75 minutes against the run of play when Craig Johnston netted from inside the area.
The goal did not upset Town’s rhythm though and the hosts had a number of chances to extend their lead, with Moffet, Colley and Marc Nixon all going close, but to no avail.
In the end it did not matter, with Town securing the win, continuing their recent resurgence which has seen them take 10 points from their last five league matches.
Alnwick Town: Brooks, Lowes, Hogg, Tait, McPherson, Patterson, Baston, Moffet, Colley, Keenan, Hodge (Nixon). Subs: Hills, Dundas. Match sponsor: Trotters Family Bakers. Match-ball sponsor: Alnwick Tyres Ltd.