Stokesley Sports Club 4 Alnwick Town 1
Northern League, Division Two
A goalkeeping crisis took its toll on Alnwick Town on Saturday as the St James’ Park side fell to a 4-1 defeat at lowly Stokesley Sports Cub.
So desperate was the situation, the black ’n’ whites had to resort to putting their top-scorer Adam Shanks between the sticks for the Northern League, Division Two clash.
Admittedly, the lethal front man is no stranger to goalkeeping, having played in this position for his Sunday league side, but it was not an ideal scenario for an Alnwick team aiming to bounce back from the 6-0 defeat to Ryton and Crawcrook Albion the week before.
Shanks conceded two goals before he was pushed outfield and replaced by manager Derek Atwell.
Alnwick were lacking a full-time number one as keeper Sean Straker was ill, Brian Brooks was unavailable and on-loan Luc Glasper had returned to Bedlington Terriers.
On top of this, visiting Alnwick were missing first-team regulars Tom Macpherson and Jon Colley.
However, it didn’t stop the threadbare Northumbrians from taking the lead, as striker Brad McClelland fired in a long-range shot to break the deadlock.
That was as good as it got for Alnwick though.
Stokesley levelled when an error in the Alnwick defence allowed Matty Dunford in to make it 1-1.
The home side took a half-time lead in freakish style.
Greg Peel’s shot hit Shanks’ leg before crashing against the post and then rebounding back off the stand-in keeper into the net.
Stokesley took more control in a wind-affected second period.
Shanks came out of goal and was pushed upfield with about 15 minutes to go, with Atwell taking over the goalkpeeing duties.
Alnwick were unable to claw their way back into the game though and conceded two more goals before the end of the match.
Gez Richardson grabbed himself a brace, with a cool finish to make it 3-1 before heading in Stokesley’s fourth.
Alnwick host South Shields in Northern League, Division Two on Saturday, kick-off 3pm.
Alnwick (v Stokesley): A Shanks, R Douglas, G Mbiavanga (D Atwell), B Murray (captain), R Straughan, K Hogg, D Riddell, T Brown, K Douglas (D Palmer), B McClelland, D Lowes (J Lowes).