ALNWICK TOWN...1 DARLINGTON RA...3 (Northern League, Division Two)
Alnwick Town’s losing streak continued as they failed to take their chances against fellow strugglers Darlington RA on Saturday.
It was the basement battle of the Northern League, as Darlington Railway Athletic travelled north for an early season six-pointer at St James’ Park.
Kristian Sands came in for his debut at centre-half following his transfer from Washington during the week.
It was a frantic opening few minutes of the game from both sides.
Stephen Young had Alnwick’s opening opportunity just two minutes into the game, but found his effort saved by Pentony.
The ball was straight down the other end, and Darlington hit the post with a shot that was almost in slow motion.
The ball would be straight back down into the Darlington half as Alnwick broke and the ball fell once again to Young in the box, but he got under his effort and it went high over the bar from close range.
Darlington came straight back with just five minutes on the clock, but luckily Sims almost smashed his effort out the ground.
The frantic start wasn’t finished there. Alnwick’s Chris Laidlaw picked the ball up on the right, and as he headed for goal, his effort bounced back off the post. A mad opening few minutes!
The game began to settle down, with Alnwick doing well down the right-hand side of Riddell and Laidlaw.
With half-an-hour played, Alnwick should have been ahead. Josh Hay was played through one-on-one, but his effort was saved by Pentony.
Missed chances were made to pay once again though as the away side would head into the break 1-0 ahead.
A long ball into the box was misjudged by Hodgson in the Alnwick goal, leaving the simplest of tap-ins for Wilson.
It was heartbreaking for Alnwick who did no deserve to go in behind at the interval.
Into the second half and Alnwick finally hit the back of the net.
With just two minutes gone into the period, a Tony Brown effort was blocked by a defender, but only into the path of Lewis Coyle who side-footed home from six yards to make it 1-1.
But the foot went off the gas and Darlington began to press forward.
Failure to clear at the back allowed Mark Sims to regain the lead for Darlington in the 63rd minute, to put the visitors back in front, leading 2-1.
Thompson, Bright and Jackson were all brought on to try to get the home side back into the game, but it was centre-half Fearns-Kennedy who almost drew the hosts level, but his effort was deflected wide.
Thompson also had a header saved as Alnwick pushed for an equaliser.
Ultimately, committing men forward left the home side exposed at the back, and three minutes from time Callum Bennett scored to make it 3-1 and seal the victory for Darlington.
It consigned Alnwick to 11 defeats in a row – a shocking run of form for the St James’ Park side who lost only once in their opening seven games.
This barren spell has seen Alnwick slump to the bottom of Northern League Division Two (21st place) with 10 points from 16 games. For Darlington, the victory lifted them to 17th, with 15 points.
Alnwick have games coming up against sides around them, so they desperately need to get back to winning ways.
Next up, they travel to Brandon United on Saturday, kick-off 3pm.
Alnwick (v Darlington RA): Hodgson R, Riddell D (Jackson J), Lowes D, Fearns-Kennedy B, Sands K, Keenan A, Brown T, Coyle L (Bright P), Young S, Hay J, Laidlaw C (Thompson D). Unused: Bell S, Laviers A.