NORTHERN ALLIANCE PREMIER DIVISION
ALNWICK made the long journey to Cumbria to face Carlisle City who were lying in third position in the Alliance Premier Division.
Despite all the recent bad weather, the pitch at the Sheepmount ground was in superb condition.
Alnwick got off to a dream start, scoring in the first minute of the game, Tony Brown heading it into the path of Tom Vickers who crashed the ball home off the underside of the bar from 15 yards out giving the home keeper Bradley no chance.
On 15 minutes, James Swordy latched onto a through-ball and fired a shot from 20 yards out which narrowly went wide of the post.
Unfortunately for the striker, it was his last action of the game, having fallen awkwardly when taking his shot on goal, and was replaced by Kevin Elliot, who was returning from his two-match suspension.
Vickers again tried his luck from 25 yards out but his powerful effort went straight into the hands of the Carlisle keeper.
Alnwick had a claim for hand-ball on 35 minutes as centre-half Hethrington was alleged to have handled but referee Walker waved play on.
Alnwick went further ahead on 42 minutes after a cross in to the box found midfielder Tony Brown, who held off Carlisle defender Rooke before turning and shooting into the corner of the net from 10 yards out.
Carlisle were playing tidy football and pulled a goal back on 57 minutes, midfielder Kilgour on the left-wing, pulling the ball back into the path of Graham to shoot home from eight yards out.
Alnwick had a good chance to increase the lead on 60 minutes, full-back Danny Lowes breaking out of defence before playing the ball across the edge of the Carlisle penalty area only for a lone defender to clear it to safety.
Alnwick finally increased the lead on 65 minutes, Vickers losing his marker in the box and squaring into the path of Lowes to fire home from six yards out.
Vickers was a again in the thick of the action as he left three defenders on the ground in the area but his chipped shot over the keeper just went the wrong side of the post.
Carlisle created a couple of half chances as they pushed on for a second goal but Stephan Hogg for Alnwick nearly extended the lead as he broke clear and fired a right foot shot just wide of the post from 20 yards out.
Danny Lillico for Alnwick challenged for a 50-50 ball with keeper Bradley who spilled the ball, but Lillico’s shot was cleared off the line.
Carlisle equalised in the 95th minute as Rooke got on the end of a free-kick to head home from six yards out.
Carlisle had one last opportunity on 97 minutes – a corner which was headed clear before the referee’s whistle to end the game was finally blown.
Good defending on the day was the back bone for Alnwick’s success in particular Gary Bails and captain Bryan Murray.
A good competitive game that saw Alnwick record their 18th win in a row in all Alliance competitions.
Alnwick: B Brooks, D Lowes, N Catlow, G Bails, B Murray, S McMullen, T Brown, M Cockburn, T Vickers, D Kennedy, J Swordy, K Elliot, S Hogg, D Lillico. Pizza Royale man-of-the-match: Tom Vickers.