Alnwick Town...3 Red House Farm Kites...3
Pin Point Recruitment Junior Football League, U11 League Two
ALNWICK let slip a two-goal lead in the closing minutes of this exciting, closely-fought league encounter against Red House Farm Kites.
The draw confirmed Alnwick’s standing in the upper reaches of League Two after an excellent start to their debut season in the Newcastle-based league.
The gale-force wind threatened to spoil the match as a spectacle, but Alnwick quickly settled to the task in hand and coped well with the testing conditions in the early skirmishes, keeping the ball on the ground and their passes short.
An early break forward by Jack Elliot saw the ball played through to Joe Threlfall.
His pass to fellow striker Brandon McCann was only just cut out by the well-organised Red House Farm defence.
Alnwick found a regular early outlet down the right wing and it was from this quarter that they took an early lead on five minutes, McCann bursting down the right-wing before cutting inside and firing a hard, low shot beneath the Red House Farm keeper.
The early goal settled nerves and Alnwick held sway with Callum Robertson playing well in defence, repeatedly breaking down Red House Farm’s attacking moves.
Their opponents, meanwhile, were struggling to cope with McCann’s pace and movement.
He combined well with Threlfall on several occasions to create uncertainty.
Alnwick’s best move of the half came from this pair.
Breaking forward at speed down the right once more, McCann played a great ball forward to the advancing Threlfall, who thumped a fierce shot goalwards that the Red House Farm keeper did fantastically well to tip on to the bar.
However, Red House Farm continued to examine Alnwick’s defence and, following a mix-up in Alnwick’s penalty area, levelled the game on 27 minutes.
That they failed to hang on to that lead until half-time was down to another scintillating run from McCann down the right.
This time he crossed, allowing substitute striker Joe Pickard to score from inside the box.
With the wind behind them in the second half, Alnwick looked to build quickly on their lead, instructed by coach Paul Yeadon to pepper the Red House Farm goal with shots to test their keeper in the swirling conditions.
Ten minutes into the second half, that man McCann was on target again, beating the opposition’s offside trap with a well-timed run to make it 3-1.
That should have been that, but Red House Farm responded to going two goals behind with a sustained spell of pressure, pinning Alnwick back in their own half for long periods.
They clawed one goal back in the 46th minute, giving them hope for a final assault.
Alnwick still had chances to make the game safe.
An up-and-under clearance from Robertson found McCann deep in opposition territory; he let the ball bounce before firing a shot just wide.
Moments later, he had yet another shot saved by the alert Red House Farm keeper.
Chances continued to come and go.
More good work by Threlfall almost led to two further goals, a delicious back heel in particular deserving more reward.
However, with only a goal in it now, Red House Farm kept probing at the Alnwick defence, increasingly over-running Alnwick’s tiring midfield, who seemed to be paying the price for a heavy early season schedule of matches with several misplaced passes.
It was no more than Red House Farm deserved when they equalised with three minutes left with a sharp shot from the edge of the penalty area.
Alnwick, meanwhile, could take heart from a battling performance that showed they will be a force to be reckoned with during the season ahead.
Alnwick Town: J Graham, L Jefferies, R McCall, W Sibson, L Cravagan, T Robinson, J Pickard, J Harmison, J Threlfall, B McCann, G Hogg, L McHale, C Frame, A Law, J Elliot, J Clements.