Alnwick Town 1-4 Hebburn
The score would suggest a bit of a hammering by Hebburn but that was not the case in a game sponsored by Lionheart Garage.
Hebburn were dominant in the first 35 minutes and only some magnificent saves by Town keeper Dominic McMahon and last ditch defending kept the visitors out and restricted them to one goal.
Town were without a couple of players and mid-week signing Andrew Wright transferred from West Allotment.
One first at St James’ Park, was that the assistant referees were a husband and wife team, and much welcome to them.
Early pressure was by Hebburn playing through the wings to the danger man Channon North, but the Alnwick defence, in particular Tom McPherson, kept him shackled for nearly the whole game.
Alnwick had an early chance through a move from Matty Graham to Darren Riddell to Joshua Hay who had run across the defence to break clear, only to see a flag for offside.
The pressure by Hebburn was building up and two quick chances fell to them, the first by Chris Thompson with a shot going wide, followed by a chance by North, who was always a thorn in Alnwick’s side in previous games, when he broke clear of the home defence only to find Town keeper closing him down to clear.
Pressure continued with the home defence throwing everything at the Hebburn attack.
Hebburn forced two close range shots on the quarter hour and the home defence blocked a minute later Town keeper McMahon pulled off a tremendous full length save tipping the ball over from a powerful header from Adam Rundle, Hebburn’s Man of the Match.
The pressure by Hebburn paid off after 20 minutes when a move down their right found Adam Rundle with space and time just outside the penalty and took a measured shot which was perfect in height going into the left hand top of the net giving McMahon no chance.
Ross Gair then had to save Town from going further behind when he cleared off the line. But Alnwick hit back when Danny Lowe crossed to the far post where Chris Graham was waiting to calmly fire home for 1-1.
Halftime arrived with the teams all square but in reality Hebburn could have been three up.
Alnwick upped their game and Alnwick’s 4-5-1 was frustrating the visitors. Gair took a measured shot from 15 yards and caught the keeper off guard who just managed to scramble the ball past the post. This was followed by a pass from Darren Riddle into Hay; again his quick cross shot just went wide with visiting keeper Steven Hubery a statue.
There then followed 10 minutes where Alnwick committed suicide from two serious errors in defence; the first was a weak back pass which Glen Hargreaves latched onto score. North, who had time and space in the middle of the box, then hammered the ball home for a third.
Alnwick were chasing the game after this point but they stuck to their task and Hay had a well timed shot saved by the Hebburn keeper’s leg.
Hebburn made sure of the points with 10 minutes to go when Jason Blackburn netted with a glancing header.
Next home game is on January 14 against Tow Law, with a 3pm kickoff.