Crook Town 2-6 Alnwick Town
Alnwick fielded the same squad as last weekend against another side who had made many new signings early on.
Ground and conditions were good with a pitch just taking a stud and Alnwick being the top scorers in Division II but also having a few put past them all adding up to exciting football. This game was no different, Alnwick running away with the game in the second half adding another 6 to their tally.
Alnwick took off at a blistering pace and should have been 4 up within 10 minutes with the first in the third minute when Liam Brooks cut through to slot a pass to Darren Riddell and his shot just went wide.
Crook had their first effort after 8 minutes but Town keeper Damien McMahon was well up to the challenge with a one-handed stop from Daniel Smith. Alnwick went onto the attack straightaway but again were denied a penalty when the home centre half put both hands up to cut out a shot in the box then the home side were shortly after awarded a penalty when in a crowded area it was adjudged that an Alnwick defender had controlled the ball as it bounced up. Sonny Andrews stepped up to make it 1-0 in the 20th minute. Crook were dictating play being quick on attack and better to second ball play.
As the game progressed Alnwick slowly took a bit more control and in the last 15 minutes created more chances when Liam Brooks saw his shot cleared via the outstretched leg of home keeper Jason Scotter. Alnwick were not to be denied when Jordan Giles on the left crossed to Liam Brooks who laid the ball across to Jamie Dixon just outside the box for Jamie to hit the ball with the outside of his foot straight past a bemused home keeper: 1-1.
Alnwick were really pushing hard in the last eight minutes of the half had two chances the first when Josh Hay met a quick free kick to just scrape the bar with his header.
With the half coming to a close, Alnwick had a corner. The ball went to the far post where Tom McPherson went up to head the ball and the home keeper went up with him and both fell on the ground where Tom was punched in the face by the keeper while on the ground. To the utter amazement the referee signalled to stop play. Tom got up and was okay and the home keeper was then allowed to clear down field. Must be a new kung fu law that’s been okayed. The half closed 1-1 with Alnwick playing well below par but coming on strong.
Alnwick continued where they left off in the first half when the Crook defence was breached and only a last minute clearance by home defender Ian Madison prevented Town taking the lead. Straightaway another Alnwick attack saw Josh Hay’s strong ground shot just wide.
Crook could not get out of their half but had their first chance of the half when a move by Ryan Cummings combined with Sonny Andrews making the Alnwick defence scramble the danger away. It was then Ross Gair on for Jamie Dixon drove the ball through the home defence but it drifted wide.
Crook took the lead when a quick cross to the far post and stabbed home by Ryan Cummings from two yards out. It did not take long before Alnwick’s pressure paid off, they were awarded a free kick just outside the box in the centre Tony Brown stepped up and drove a strong shot into the left side of the net. This was the first for his hat-trick. Less than five minutes later Alnwick took the lead as they were awarded a penalty so Tony Brown hammered it home to make it 2-3 to Alnwick.
Town keeper Dominic McMahon was a spectator for periods but was called upon to make a great one-handed save to deflect the ball away.
Crook defence were being pulled apart by the Town forwards when a long ball over the defence saw Liam Brooks race clear and home keeper Jason Scotter race out but Brooks just beat the advancing keeper out jumped the keeper to send his header sailing into an empty net: 2-4 to Town. Brooks was on hand when Josh Hay passed inside for Brooks to score his second and Alnwick’s fifth: 2-5. As the game was in its last minute, Alnwick were awarded a second penalty. Tony Brown stepped up to slot it home for his third and Alnwick’s sixth: 2-6.
The final score was 2-6 to Alnwick but in the first half they struggled to put their game plan together, slowly taking more control in the last 15 minutes of the first half.
Crook had the occasional chance in the second half which Dominic McMahon ably took care of and in the last 15 minutes scored 5. It was never truly easy as Alnwick had always to be on the alert for the Crook attacks which slowly petered out.
The game was niggling with Crook putting in some nasty challenges, having two yellow cards and having a player sent off in the last few minutes for comments made to the female referee.
ALNWICK TOWN 1
HEATON STANNINGTON 2
Alnwick were unable to keep the momentum from Saturday going when they faced Heaton Stannington less than 48 hours later at St James’ Park.
The bank holiday Monday fixture was played in warm conditions and Alnwick huffed and puffed their way through the first half at times.
However, there were no goals and the teams turned around at 0-0.
After the break Heaton stapped up a gear and two quick goals had Alnwick on the back foot.
Town then made three substitutions, and this seemed to breath some life back into the side with Jordan Miller vollying the ball into the net.
However, they were unable to make any further inroads and Heaton held on to take all three points.