Whickham 2-0 Alnwick Town
Following a blank Saturday, Alnwick travelled to Whickham, a tough team in the top half of Division II.
Their task was not made any easier when five players were missing from selection but the Town welcomed Jonathan Wilson back into the squad.
Alnwick were first to break with a right wing cross to Tony Brown who just headed over. Whickham pushed forward and hit the woodwork during a scramble and the second corner was cleared. Whickham were having a bit of a purple patch when a few minutes later Mark Fitzpatrick made space on the right just outside the box on the right and his powerful cross shot hit the post.
Alnwick hit back with a fine move when a move via Wilson and Brown found Joshua Hay; he drifted in from the right across the face of the box, beating two defenders to send in a ground shot which home keeper Alexander Curran was glad to dive and just save near the post.
This spurred Alnwick on when another move to Hay on the right to release a shot forcing the home defence and keeper to scramble a clearance.
Play was pretty open end to end fast moving and Tom McPherson had to make a timely clearance. Both sides were pressing for the opening goal and nearly did when a quick left wing move caught the Alnwick defence not pushing out quick enough and combination of defender and quick action by Town keeper Dominic McMahon saved the day.
Alnwick pressed again without result with both keepers called into action. Halftime arrived all square with both sides cancelling each other out.
Straight after the break Chris Graham took a snap shot, just swerving wide and Alnwick continued to call the time for the first 10 minutes. Whickham took control and Town keeper McMahon was called upon to make full stretch save to tip the ball over.
Whickham’s Mark Fitzpatrick was proving a hard act to handle and went close with a header. Alnwick’s defence were called upon to block a shot on the line.
The deadlock was broken from a penalty when Town keeper McMahon had to charge across his box to try and intercept the ball as it spun over the home forward and in attempting to punch clear, jumped and reached over the attacker but made no contact with the ball. Mark Fitzpatrick stepped up to score and made it 1-0 on the hour.
Soon after Whickham made it 2-0 when a scramble in the Alnwick box with both sets of players trying to control the ball but it was David Clasper who poked it home.
Alnwick can and do play fast, accurate football but are not consistent in this and it was one of their three man move that nearly opened the home defence by Jonathan Wilson.
The final act was a terrific full length save to tip the ball over by McMahon. He was at fault for the penalty but made up for it with three terrific saves.
Whickham were worthy 2-0 winners but Alnwick are constantly giving goals away. If they played to their strengths they would be further up the League.