Reds sneak through to maintain perfect record

Bamburgh Castle...2 Red Row Welfare...3

North Northumberland League Division Two

RED Row went seven points clear at the top of the table on Saturday thanks to a smash-and-grab victory over a Bamburgh side that will deservedly feel hard done by not to have got anything from the game.

Red Row started brightly with Matty Graham and Josh Baston linking up well down the left side but Bamburgh always looked dangerous on the counterattack, almost going ahead but John Charlton smothered the ball at the striker’s feet.

Graham’s corner found the head of Mick Straker, who nodded just wide but he was not to be denied for long. Dan Palmer floated a far-post cross into the box for Straker to head home from close range.

It looked as if Red Row would go on to take control of the game but a devastating counter-attack put Bamburgh on level terms when a through-ball found Dalton, who clinically fired in off the post.

The game started to take on an end-to-end tone and the visitors almost regained their lead on the stroke of half-time when a finely-weighted Jordan Giles through-ball found Graham but his shot fizzed wide.

The second half began with the wind playing more of a part, making it hard for both teams to play decent football with the game being bogged down in midfield for large periods. But it came back to life after 70 minutes when some sloppy defending allowed Aldred in to finish calmly for his first goal for Bamburgh.

Red Row threw everything at Bamburgh in an attempt to protect their unbeaten league record but, after Graham struck the post, there was a feeling that the game was slipping away from them and it would have been 3-1 if it wasn’t for a fantastic save from John Charlton, who tipped a powerful strike wide when it looked destined for the top corner.

Deep into injury-time, Red Row got out of jail after a fierce Dan Palmer volley was palmed into the path of Mick Straker, who scored his second of the game. Then, unbelievably, right at the death, a deep pin-point cross again from Dan Palmer found the head of Kevin Bell and his header looped over the Bamburgh keeper and into the net, sending Red Row into raptures and leaving Bamburgh devastated. At the very least, they deserved a draw for the way they matched and at times outplayed the league leaders.

A vital win in the title race from Red Row’s perspective. They have now played 13 and won 13 in the league.

Red Row squad: J Charlton, J Giles, D Palmer, M Straker, J Baston, K Taylor, P Smith, J Small, M Graham, K Bell, S Palmer, S Anderson, D Whenray, D Towler. HFC Pizzas man-of-the-match: Paul Smith.