Marvellous Muzza leads by example

It could be the defining moment in Alnwick Town’s season; the spark needed to ignite a remarkable escape act.

As the clock ticked into the 95th minute, the ball left the boot of captain Bryan Murray and rifled into the far corner.

There it was. A last-gasp equaliser which might prove to be the difference between Northern League and Northern Alliance football next term.

While it snatched a point – a crucial point no less – for Town, it was more than that.

Mentally, it will no doubt feel like a win, and could provide the springboard Town need to finally leap away from the Northern League, Division Two trapdoor.

It also showed there’s life in the old dog yet. Enough life to fight to the very end, whether that’s over 90 minutes, or over the course of the season. That it was captain Murray who netted both goals in Tuesday night’s comeback was fitting. He epitomises what this Town team is about – heart, desire and fight.

And that will be needed in abundance if Town are to haul themselves away from relegation.

Make no mistake, a defeat against Brandon United would have been a big blow. And for 79 minutes, bottom-of-the-table Town were heading for their fifth straight loss in all competitions.

A brace from United’s Stephen Moody, with a goal in each half, had put the visitors 2-0 up. If Mark Bell had found the net, instead of crashing his shot against the post shortly after Moody’s second, then it would have been game over.

But Town grabbed a lifeline with little over 10 minutes of normal time remaining. A corner found Murray in the box and he fired home a low shot.

Then came the equaliser. A deep ball in from Kieran Hogg found Murray at the far post and the skipper volleyed in, prompting wild celebrations.

It was no more than Town deserved, on the balance of the final 10 minutes or so at least.

Before that, it was a game of very few chances.

In the first half, Alnwick keeper Brian Brooks tipped over a shot from distance while Town’s hard-working Dan Thompson beat his marker and broke into the box, but his shot hit the side netting.

Chris Moffet went close for Town in the second period but his dipping effort went just over. And there was that Bell chance for the visitors.

But Murray’s first goal set up a frantic finale and Town went close to equalising through Tom Vickers, Dale Kennedy, Tony Brown and Moffet.

Just when it looked as though a point had escaped them, Murray struck at the death. How important that could prove to be.

Alnwick: B Brooks, A Makin (D Lowes), N Catlow, C Kidd (D Kennedy), T McPherson, B Murray, J Colley (K Hogg), T Brown, D Thompson, T Vickers, C Moffet. Subs: B Keenan, G Patterson. Match and ball sponsor: Robert Porteous Roofing.