Much-changed Alnwick get off to a losing start

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Alnwick’s new manager, Jon Egen, named his first team of the season, which showed a number of new faces in the squad from last season as he started to build his own team.

There were nine new members in the squad.

Alnwick started and continued throughout with a fast passing game, keeping the ball on the ground and stringing together four to five quick passes but lacking the final breakthrough as the home team clearly set out to sit back as their formation showed with two tough central defenders.

Alnwick tried to puncture the home defence with quick moves which at times was only stopped by lucky deflections and on two occasions the woodwork and the goalkeeper Phil Pentony’s face.

Alnwick dominated possession and play before Darlington made the first incursion into the Alnwick penalty area after 15 minutes but new keeper Nathan Brown easily dealt with this.

Alnwick kept up their passing game and Alnwick’s Rob Baker hit a pinpoint inside pass for Brad McClelland to run onto but his shot just went wide. The pressure was maintained with the odd sporadic home attack and Alnwick created another chance when James Jackson’s header at the near post just went wide.

On the half hour, Darlington broke the deadlock when the home keeper Phil Pentony threw the ball out to the left. This followed with a two man move up the left wing and the final pass to Chris Halliday cutting into the edge of the box.

Town keeper Nathan Brown charged out to close Halliday down and clear the ball but Halliday just got there to slip the ball past Brown: 1-0.

This was completely against the run of play but Alnwick soon picked up the pace again and 10 minutes before half-time, Tony Brown took a quick free kick just outside the box in front of goal. He curled the ball past the keeper, only to see it hit the join of the upright and bar.

Darlington had a few minutes pressure on the Town defence and some frantic work cleared the area. This then followed another chance fell to James Jackson who was unlucky not to score with his effort.

Straightaway in the second half Alnwick continued to attach when Tom McPherson’s effort hit the post.

The second half was more even on possession and the home team drew further ahead when Joe Peal passed inside to Kerry Headley some 30 yards and hit a terrific speculative shot but saw his effort dip and scrape under the bar leaving Nathan Brown no chance: 2-0.

To their credit Alnwick continued the ground passing game and had another good chance when Lee Dundas cut back from the by-line across the box, threading it’s way past keeper, defender and three Alnwick players.

This happened throughout the game with the Darlington defence and goal living a charmed life and Alnwick keeper blocked a good more a few minutes later.

In the last 10 minutes Alnwick created more chances with home keeper Pentony palming away a free kick by Danny Lowes (on for Lee Dundas). A few minutes later the home keeper saved a certain goal with his face.

Alnwick continued to pess without getting on the score sheet without really being troubled by the home forwards. In the dying minutes of the game, Kieran Hogg’s (on for Brad McClelland) left wing cross shot across the face of goal with the keeper missing it but without a result.

Just before the whistle, a good move and cross just went behind Darren Riddell in front of goal.