McClelland at the double as Town force a friendly draw

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ALNWICK TOWN 4

ASHINGTON 4

Alnwick Town’s pre-season finally got under way last night at St James’ Park, in a game which will have given the supporters plenty of positives to take for the season ahead.

In a first half which saw both sides fail to break the deadlock, few would have expected to leave at 90 minutes with a full time score of 4-4.

In a match which saw new faces for both teams, Alnwick debuts were handed to goalkeeper Davey Stewart, and midfielders Josh Willis and Rob Baker. Jonny Quinn also started for the home side for 45 minutes, switching to the away side for the 2nd half (more on him to follow).

First half efforts from Quinn, McClelland and Baker tested the Ashington keeper and went wide, with Alnwick more than holding their own against an Ashington side who will be hoping for a successful season in the league above.

Adam Shanks and James Loughborough both started for Ashington, and Shanks had a couple of chances to score against his former side, but saw efforts go over and saved comfortably by Stewart.

The home side were playing good football and looking organised, which is obviously something manager Jon Egen is keen to instill in the players this campaign.

The second 45 proved to be a reminder from last season of what the club was all about. Goals!

Within 15 minutes of the restart, Alnwick found themselves 3-0 up, thanks to a brace from Brad McClelland (who has returned to the club) and captain Tony Brown. Ashington were shellshocked, and struggling to cope with Alnwick on the counter-attack.

Within 10 minutes though, the 1st Division side capitalised thanks to 1 very good strike from trialist Jonny Quinn, and then Dylan Williamson and Matt Grieves levelled the score at 3-3.

Never to be a dull game at St James’ Park, Brad McClelland then made the most of a goalkeeping error to score a hat-trick against his the side he left Alnwick Town for last season to make it 4-3.

In the 78th minute, Andrew Johnson brought the away side back level again to make it 4-4.

Both sides continued to press forward looking for more goals but neither found the net.