Town nudged out of League Cup

Alnwick Town U11...1 Cramlington JS U11...2

Pin Point U11 League Cup, Round Four

ALNWICK Town exited the League Cup in disappointing fashion after a narrow home defeat to Cramlington on Sunday.

Despite good possession for long periods, Town were unable to break down a resolute Cramlington defence.

Cramlington took the lead as early as the second minute when good passing and movement on the edge of the Alnwick area led to a quick breakthrough (0-1).

Playing with the gale-force wind behind them, Alnwick were soon back on level terms through an excellent piece of set-piece play.

A second corner in quick succession taken by Leon McHale fell to Liam Cravagan on the edge of the Cramlington area. Unmarked, Cravagan picked his spot, leaving the goalkeeper with no chance and flighting the ball into the top corner off the inside of the post (1-1).

Alnwick nearly repeated the trick a few moments later. Jack Elliot won the ball in a congested midfield and picked the perfect pass to striker Brandon McCann, who in turn swept the ball wide to Joe Threlfall on the left.

The excellent Cramlington defence closed him down and deflected his shot behind for a corner.

With the wind assisting in whipping the ball dangerously into the Cramlington area, McHale was again a menace. Another two corners followed in quick succession, the second flying across the face of the Cramlington goal.

From nearly taking the lead, Alnwick fell behind again in the 23rd minute, when Cramlington scored following a goalmouth scramble (1-2).

Buoyed by their lead gained against the wind, Cramlington tested the Alnwick defence for the remainder of the half with Will Sibson and Joe Pickard in the centre of defence having to be on top of their game to keep the gap at one goal going into half-time.

Alnwick were always going to struggle battling into the wind in the second half, and they struggled to get across the half-way line for the first 10 minutes following the restart.

Meanwhile, Alnwick keeper Jay Graham made a couple of fine saves to keep Cramlington at bay. When Alnwick finally did manage to break forward, they came close to levelling the tie.

A long ball forward to McCann saw him draw the keeper expertly, only to see his shot parried. The loose ball fell to defender Callum Robertson on the edge of the area and he curled a left-footed shot just wide of the post.

The middle part of the half was characterised by both sides conceding possession cheaply. Result, neither keeper was unduly tested until the closing moments when Alnwick upped the tempo and pressed for the equaliser.

With 10 minutes remaining, Threlfall was set free by Robertson, but saw his shot fly just wide. Despite some good approach play down the right in the closing moments involving McHale, substitute Raphael McCall and McCann, Alnwick’s efforts ultimately came to nothing.

Cramlington just about deserved their win, leaving Alnwick to cement their third position in League Two over the final weeks of the season, and to look forward to a semi-final in the NEYD Cup.

Alnwick: Jay Graham, Callum Robertson, Raphael McCall, Gavin Hogg, Will Sibson, Joe Harmison, Alex Law, Leon McHale, Liam Cravagan, Travis Robinson, Brandon McCann, Joe Threlfall, Jack Elliot, Josef Laverty, Joe Pickard, Chad Frame. Man-of-the-match: Jay Graham.