Alnwick Town 1 Northallerton Town 2
Ebac Northern League, Division Two
It had to happen at some time and sadly Saturday’s visit of the mid-table north Yorkshire club finally ended Alnwick’s unbeaten run.
The black ‘n’ whites started in a confident and positive mood and had the first chance after 15 minutes when Adam Shanks sent over a right-wing cross to Stephen Hogg, the home side went into this game on the back of a five-match run and wanted to revenge the 8-0 drubbing earlier in the season down at Northallerton.
The lose header hit the cross-bar.
Northallerton, some five places above Alnwick, were proving to be strong opposition and nearly broke the deadlock after a long-range shot by Aaron Ramsbottom was saved by Alnwick keeper Sean Straker.
This was soon followed by Gloire Mbiavanga making a last-minute clearance.
The St James’ Park side came on strong when Shanks played a long cross to Danny Lowes only for his on-target shot to be blocked.
In the end, it was Danny Lowes who broke the deadlock in a spectacular way when Kieran Hogg floated a long ball to him on the left and he hit it on the volley, leaving visiting keeper Matt Calvert rooted to the spot.
Alnwick were good value for their half-time lead and could have had more.
The visitors came out for the second half with more resolve although Tony Brown nearly added to the score, breaking the defence, but his shot was blocked.
Sean Straker was then forced to make a full-length save from a 30-yard shot from Dale Elgie. Northallerton were pinning Alnwick back, but the hosts forced a corner which Ross Straughan met at the near post, only to head just over.
Alnwick were pressed back again which resulted in a penalty in the 70th minute when Mbiavanga was judged to have fouled. Stu Owen stepped up to score his side’s equaliser.
Alnwick stepped up their game and Darren Riddell crossed to Stephen Hogg who had to take a snap-shot which went over.
It was a hard and furious battle with the Alnwick defence soaking up a lot of pressure and Straker was called upon to make another fine save.
The visitors had a lucky escape when keeper Calvert stepped out of the box to collect the ball; no free kick was given.
In the dying minutes of the game, Northallerton got the winner when a move down their right saw Damian Reaks cut in and hit a curling shot from just outside the area giving Sean Straker no chance.
Alnwick had the edge in the first half and should have had a bigger lead.
They were within 45 minutes and a couple of missed chances of adding to their run of five games unbeaten.
The first half was Alnwick’s, but unfortunately the second – and the three points – belonged to Northallerton.
Team: S Straker, K Egan, G Mbiavanga, R Straughan, T McPherson, K Hogg (D Riddell, D Lowes, T Brown, A Shanks, S Hogg (K Douglas), J Colley (B Murray). Subs: B Brooks, D Atwell. Match sponsor: Sportsworld. Ball sponsor: Jon Stephenson.
Alnwick Town’s next game sees them travel down to County Durham on Saturday to take on Tow Law Town. Kick-off 3pm.
They finish the season with home games against Chester-le-Street and then Brandon United.