Alnwick Town 0-1 Team Northumbria
Most pundits were not going to give Alnwick much of a chance against one of the certainties to be promoted to Division I of the Ebac Northern League next season.
Team Northumbria had only conceded 10 goals in 21 games, the best record in the League.
Town had to ring the usual changes due to work and family requirements which meant five missing from the squad including a back four.
Town manager Richard Mitchell set the team up 4-5-1 and this was mirrored by Team Northumbria, which was a compliment to the recent form of Alnwick.
The ground was soft which would lead to the only goal but a crowd of nearly 100 saw a great game.
Both teams packed the midfield which cut out a number of ground attacks. Alnwick showed the more positive attitude and played great accurate passing moves but with only Josh Hay up front made things difficult in the last third.
Hay was tightly marked all through the game yet had the much vaunted defence worried.
Alnwick had the better of the half chances but it was Team Northumbria who broke the deadlock after 16 minutes. It followed a left wing move with a ground ball across to the right where an Alnwick defender slipped and Town keeper Dom McMahon came out only to slip himself and allowed Joel Bradley to chip the ball over Dom into the net: 0-1.
Alnwick were giving Team Northumbria one hell of a game, matching them in every department and an edge on a quicker passing game.
In the 20th minute Alnwick made a move down the left with Jonathan Wilson for Tony Brown to shoot but Team Northumbria keeper Steven Mundy was in top form to save. Straightaway Team Northumbria attacked and Town keeper McMahon had to be on top form to save from Bradley, the liveliest forward in the visiting team.
Alnwick kept to their task and had two half chances in quick succession by Chris Graham and Ross Gair. The best move nearly resulted in Alnwick equalising when Tony Brown fed the ball through to Hay cutting in from the right. Just inside the box Hay hit a terrific rising cross shot which was destined for the far corner of the net but Mundy showed his class to tip it over at full stretch.
Alnwick were a playing fast, accurate ground game but could not make it count with Hay ploughing a lone furrow up front.
Northumbria nearly doubled their lead within a minute of the start of the second half when Bradley cut in from the right when he released a diagonal shot across the box, hitting the far post and bouncing clear.
Gair went close in the 70th minute, then there followed a frantic time for Team Northumbria when Alnwick were denied a penalty for hand ball then closely after Hay was the recipient of a cruel foul in the penalty area.
Northumbria were being rattled and Town bottled them up in their half. Mitchell introduced two subs, Dominic Schiavetta and James Jackson, to keep the pressure on, but full-time arrived and Team Northumbria took the three points, although they knew they had been in a serious game.
* Alnwick Town’s new manager, Richard Mitchell, has now appointed Stuart Purvis as his assistant manager. Stuart was previously with Ryton.