Durham City 2-0 Alnwick Town
For Town’s first visit to the magnificent £30million-plus community facility at Consett, Alnwick had nearly a full squad to choose from for their game against Durham City, who are lying third in the League.
The pitch is the latest 3G with all the surrounding facilities and Alnwick came into this on the back of two positive draws. The early season result at Alnwick between the two sides was a 5-5 draw.
But on this occasion City took the spoils with a 2-0 victory, the first goal coming in the first half, then second almost right on the final whistle.
It was Town who showed first in the first minute with an attack down their right. The ball was played out to Josh Hay, who powered into the box, only to be up-ended near the spot and to everyone’s surprise, even the home supporters, no penalty was awarded.
It was the home side who took an early lead with a quick break down the middle from a left wing pass for Craig Hennis to fire home.
Durham went back on the attack a minute later when Town’s keeper Dominic McMahon made a fine full length save from Bradley Hird.
The Town defence was coping well with Ross Straughan back in the fold, and at the other end Josh Hay rose to make a clean header down but home keeper Daniel Gladson managed to collect the bouncing ball.
Alnwick were belying their bottom half of the table position against a top three team and were playing fast accurate football and Tony Brown combined with Ross Gair to create the opening Hay, who in turn set up Liam Brooks, whose shot went narrowly wide.
Alnwick dominated possession limiting Durham to half chances.
They then had another strong penalty claim when Dominic Schiavetta ran into the box where he was challenged by home keeper Daniel Gladson.
He appeared to grab the Alnwick player around his ankles, but again their protestations were waved aside by the referee.
To add insult to injury he awarded a free kick to Durham!
For the last 10 minutes of the first half Durham’s attacks were broken up but Alnwick could not benefit from their pressure.
It remained 1-0 at the break, and after half-time the 3G surface again proved condusive to fast, flowing football.
A four-man Town move almost brought some joy for the visitors, but Hay’s effort was fumbled by the keeper and there was no one there to take advantage.
Durham, looking to add to their lead, created chances through John Fortune and Bradley Hird.
With 75 minutes gone, Alnwick rang the changes and James Jackson was immediately into action with Ross Gair given space to shoot at the near post, his effort being deflected for a corner.
In the final ten minutes Durham made three substitutions of their own and were unlucky when an effort hit the post.
The game was almost up when City added a killer second goal when they won the ball on the left and pulled it back from the bye-line for Kieran Hartnett to see his shot deflected over the head of Town keeper McMahon.
It was a disappointinf result for Alnwick and their new management set-up, because they felt they deserved to take something from the match.
If either, or both penalties had been given, the result could have been so different.
Alnwick’s next game is on Saturday, December 3 at home to Ryton & Crawcrook.