Alnwick Town 1-1 Bedlington Terriers
Richard Mitchell, the new Alnwick manager, was in charge for his first match and had Josh Hay back after his suspension, with three players unavailable due to family events and two injuries.
Bedlington chairman Ronane Liddane is a former Alnwick player in the 1980s and his side went into this game on the back of a good run of ten wins.
Alnwick, meanwhile, had been heartened by their good, workmanlike performance in last week’s draw against Thornaby.
Bedlington showed early with two chances in the first ten minutes. Liam Clark’s shot was followed by a Bedlington free kick on the left when the long ball found Kyle Oliver, but poor ball control saw him shoot over.
It was Alnwick who caused panic in the visitors’ defence with combined play with Tony Brown into Liam Brooks for James Jackson to shoot quickly but his effort was just wide.
Dominic in the Town goal had to be quick to save from Jack Foalle at close range following a midfield one-two.
The game was very fluid and end to end with both sides creating numerous half chances and Alnwick ended on a high with a quick move involving Tony Brown, Matthew Graham andforward Josh Hay, whose sideways clip to Liam Brooks allowed him to shoot, and only the outstretched leg of Luke Watson saved Bedlington.
Halftime arrived all square with Bedlington having the edge.
Alnwick went straight on the attack in the second half when Hay received a long ball on the edge of the box and hit a rising shot past the outstretched hands of visiting keeper Jak Wells.
In that split second, players and supporters were keyed up to shout goal, only to see the ball scrape the wrong side of the crossbar.
The end to end play continued at a pace. It was Alnwick keeper Dominic who was called upon to make a full stretch, one-handed save from Jack Foalle.
But back came Alnwick when Jordan Giles’s rebound allowed Tony Brown to create some space, but again the result was the shot just going over.
Alnwick were taking possession more at this stage and hit a purple patch, pushing Bedlington back and a three-man move involving James Jackson down the left, Brooks and then Hay, saw the latter take a terrific shot which clippied a defender and spun over the bar.
A long ball to the edge of the Bedlington box when caused a melee, during which the visiting keeper Wells dropped the ball, but it was cleared to safety.
After 75 minutes the deadlock was broken by a goal which would grace any level.
A ball down the Alnwick left found Brooks in the clear and as the keeper came off his line , he deftly flicked the ball high over the stopper to drop into the empty net: 1-0.
Bedlington came back forcing Dominic to make another fine save from Luke Watson on the overlap.
But Alnwick’s lead lasted only ten minutes when a Bedlington free kick caught out the Alnwick defence allowing Kyle Oliver an easy chance to tuck away: 1-1.
In the final minutes Alnwick called the tune with a Hay shot fumbled by Wells but grabbed at the second attempt. In the last minute the Bedlington keeper also fumbled a cross but James Jackson’s follow up went just wide.
The next game for Alnwick will be the first for the club and players away to Durham City who play on a 3G pitch at Consett.