Alnwick Town fell back to the bottom of Northern League Division Two after a 4-2 defeat at high-flying Darlington RA on Saturday.
The loss, coupled with Horden CW’s 2-1 victory over fellow strugglers Esh Winning, dumped the St James’ Park side to the foot of the table.
Despite the defeat, the black ‘n’ whites kept their relegation rivals in their sights, remaining six points from safety at the close of play.
Paul Yeadon’s Town troops face a tough match on Saturday, when they host league-leading Crook Town. But if they show the same passion, hunger and fight against the table-toppers as they did against Darlington, then anything is possible.
And let’s not forget that Town are on a fairly decent run of form, having won four out of their last eight league matches.
They went into the Darlington game having moved off the bottom of the table, following a convincing 5-1 league win over Esh Winning the week before.
Saturday’s clash was played on a bumpy and uneven pitch.
Darlington made their intentions clear early on and created a number of chances.
Brian Brooks in the Alnwick goal pulled off a fine point-blank save from David Webster to keep the score 0-0.
Town could have taken the lead after 10 minutes, but Dan Thompson’s early shot missed the target by just a few inches.
Jimmy Muir broke the deadlock in the 17th minute, converting from the spot after what Town believed to be a dubious penalty decision.
Town had their chances to get back into the contest – twice hitting the woodwork and Thompson once again going close.
The visitors were to rue their missed chances. Just five minutes before the break Aaron Ramsbottom put Darlington 2-0 up. Ten minutes after the break, and the hosts went three to the good. Steve Allison found the net after good work down the left by Lee Farrington.
Town’s Tony Brown went close to grabbing his side a lifeline but his swerving shot went wide. But he didn’t have to wait too much longer to find the net. Tom Vickers was upended in the box and Brown duly converted from the spot.
However, Town’s slight chance of a fightback was undone just two minutes later. Despite Brooks making another fine save, the ball spun into the path of Zac Tervit and the Darlington man scored to make it 4-1. With the match in its 84th minute, Brown converted after Chris Moffat’s drive was saved.
Alnwick Town take on Crook Town on Saturday at St James’ Park, ko 3pm. They then travel to Jarrow Roofing on Tuesday, ko 7.30pm.
Alnwick: Brooks, Makin (Lowes), Catlow, Kidd, McPherson, Murray, Brown, Moffat, Vickers, Thompson (Jackson), Colley (Hall). Subs Convery, Hutchins.
l Alnwick were knocked out of the E Armstrong Memorial Cup last Wednesday, losing 3-0 to Northallerton Town in the first round.