Whickham 3 Alnwick Town 2
Northern League, Division Two
A last-gasp goal from Andrew Brown snatched all three points for Whickham on Saturday, inflicting Alnwick Town to their second defeat on the bounce.
It was a painful end to a game in which the St James’ Park side had battled back from a losing position to lead 2-1, only to surrender the advantage.
The result summed up the black ’n’ whites’ dire 2015 – which has yielded just four points from a possible 24.
Alnwick welcomed Jon Colley back into the squad after a four-week lay-off.
The early exchanges of the match were pretty even, but it was hosts Whickham who took an early lead. A left-wing cross found Dan O’Riley, who took a swipe at the ball, which in turn deflected off an Alnwick player to wrong-foot keeper Luc Glasper.
At the other end, Tom Macpherson went close with a header from a free-kick before a move between Adam Shanks and Colley ended with the ball just going over the bar. Shanks then forced home keeper John Mordue to push over.
With Whickham still edging it, Alnwick drew level in the 40th minute. Danny Lowes was on hand to ram home after a Shanks header.
On the stroke of half-time, Colley was the victim of an horrendous two-footed tackle from behind and had to be helped off with an ankle injury. He did not return to the field of play.
Alnwick took the lead in the 60th minute when a free-kick was floated from left to right and the home keeper could only palm it to his right where Stephen Hogg was on the edge of the box to volley the ball into the far corner of the net.
This was very much Alnwick’s purple patch and Shanks went close to increasing Alnwick’s advantage.
Whickham weren’t out of it though and almost levelled, only for Macpherson to clear the ball off the line.
But a few minutes later, Whickham did draw level, when O’Riley cut into the box and forced home the equaliser.
Towards the end of the game, Alnwick nearly regained the lead when a Kieran Hogg pass found Shanks whose header just skimmed the bar. Alnwick’s Darren Riddle then made space to power a shot, but Mordue was alert.
Whickham snatched the points in the last minute when Brown forced the ball home after a goalmouth scramble.
Alnwick’s anger was to increase in time added-on, when an apparent handball by a Whickham player in the home box was not given by the referee.
The result sees Whickham sit seventh, while Alnwick are fifth-bottom. Alnwick host Birtley Town on Saturday.
Alnwick Town: L Glasper, D Lowes, G Mbiavanga, K Hogg, R Straughan, T Macpherson, D Riddle, T Brown, A Shanks, S Hogg, J Colley (K Douglas). Subs: J Loughborough, B Brooks, B Murray.