Seaham Red Star...4 Alnwick Town...2
STL Northern League, Division Two
ALNWICK Town finally surrendered their unbeaten away record as they slipped to a 3-1 defeat at lowly Seaham Red Star, writes James Willoughby.
The loss was Alnwick’s first on the road all term – ironically against a side who had not won at home this season, until Alnwick came to town.
It could have been different though, if the St James’ Park side had taken advantage of an early lead.
And they will be kicking themselves for not taking something out of this contest, after they created a number of chances against a Seaham side who had only won two league matches this season before hosting Alnwick.
But it wasn’t to be and three Red Star goals in the second half – including two in as many minutes – helped sink Alnwick and condemn them to their third league defeat on the bounce, following home losses to Team Northumbria and Birtley Town. A NFA Senior Benevolent Bowl cup win against Ponteland United was sandwiched between those two St James’ Park defeats though.
Alnwick started brightly against Red Star and took the lead after seven minutes when Ben Keenan flicked a high pass on to Jon Colley, who ghosted past the defender, cut in and hit a rising cross-shot over the advancing keeper (0-1).
It was almost two a moment later, as Ross MacKenley tested home stopper Ryan Graham.
Seaham levelled the scores just after the half-hour, thanks to a terrific strike from Anthony Watson – leaving Brian Brooks in the Alnwick goal with no chance (1-1).
Alnwick almost regained the lead a minute later, but Mark Cockburn’s effort went just wide, before Graham pulled off a point-blank save from Keenan to keep his side in the contest at the interval.
It proved important too – unfortunately for Alnwick.
On 56 minutes, Red Star’s Michael Drysdale profited from a scramble in the Alnwick box and found the net to put the hosts into the lead (2-1).
And just a minute later, Alnwick’s day went from bad to worse as Michael Chapman hit an unstoppable shot to put Seaham 3-1 up.
Alnwick, to their credit, did not give up and pulled a goal back in the 65th minute, thanks to a Catlow free-kick – his powerful shot evaded a host of bodies and found the net (3-2).
Alnwick nearly levelled the scores through Colley, but his effort went wide of the post.
But there was to be no comeback and Seaham made the game safe in the 85th minute when Daniel Crithan broke clear and rounded Brooks to net Seaham’s fourth (4-2).
Alnwick now turn their attention to a double-header against Brandon United, starting tomorrow night.
Town can put their recent miserable league form to one side as they travel to United in the first round of the E Armstrong Memorial Cup, kick-off 7.30pm.
On Saturday, it is a return to league action as Alnwick host Brandon.
The St James’ Park clash starts at 3pm.
Alnwick will hope they can begin to banish the demons which have haunted them on home soil this season, having lost five of their nine league matches there.
Alnwick Town: Brooks, Murray (captain), Catlow, Cockburn (Davidson), Patterson, Bailes (MacPherson), Willis, Brown, Colley, Keenan (McMullen), MacKenley. Sub: Hodge.