Alnwick Town 2-7 Chester le Street
This was Alnwick’s first home game since February 10, and any game for a number of weeks.
Team selection as usual proved to be the proverbial problem. Town were missing three regular team players due to holiday, injury and work. Some other players were not available for various reasons and at times it leaves the club very restricted for selection.
The first half was pretty even with Chester le Street taking an early lead after five minutes when a clearance by a Town defender fell perfectly to Michael Hepplewhite to cut in and score with a low shot.
And it was 2-0 after 15 minutes when Kieran McGuire side footed in.
Alnwick stepped up their game and started to push the visitors back with Ryan Douglas, heading over. However, they were rewarded with a goal when Darren Riddell headed in from five yards out tio make it 2-1.
Tony Brown then had a shot saved by Jack Wilson, but they soon got back on klevel terms after half an hour when Rob Baker turned a defender on the left, cut into the box and squeezed between two defenders to fire home a low shot.
There was then the turning point of the game when Town defender was sent off with an immediate red card as a last man foul.
Although down to 10 men, Alnwick still had two good chances before the break with a Riddell shot deflected wide before the home side the ball had crossed the line, only for the effort to be ruled out by the referee.
Chester le Street took the lead just before halftime against the run of play when Kevin Dixon grabbed his opportunity to make it 3-2.
In the second half the visitors pushed an extra man up front and Town keeper Hodgson was called into action within five minutes with another save from keeper McGuire.
The extra man advantage was starting to tell when Chester le Street went 4-2 up from a free kick headed in by Mark Peck.
Alnwick still managed when Rob Baker headed across the face of the goal, just going wide at the far post.
Alnwick brought on subs in an endeavour to stem the attacks but being down to 10 men really became too much. Chester le Street put on their subs and went on to score three more goals in quick succession to run out 7-2 winners.
The Alnwick squad must be commended on putting in a hard shift and showing their dedication to the Club.
They must now play eight games in 11 days due to the recent bad weather
Games left to play:
Thursday 19th April away to Tow Law; Saturday 21st April v Brandon at home; Saturday 28th April at home to Easington; and Monday 30th April at home to Ryton &Crawcrook. There is then a further two away games still to be arranged.
* Saturday’s match was sponsored in the memory of Clive Burn. Clive was a pillar of support for the Club over many decades and still sets an example of commitment.