Alnwick Town...5 Seaham Red Star...2
STL NORTHERN LEAGUE, DIVISION TWO
THE revival continued at St James’ Park on Saturday as a 5-2 thumping of Seaham Red Star saw Alnwick post their second win in three.
And the return of seven points from nine is a drastic turnaround following a run of seven straight defeats in all competitions, during which the club parted company with the managerial team of Danny Olson and Rob Marshall.
It could have been a different story in Paul Yeadon’s fifth game in charge with the County Durham side by far the fastest out the blocks.
However, a Chris Moffet hat-trick and single strikes from Bryan Murray and Jon Colley ensured Alnwick bagged the three points after a stronger second-half performance.
Two of the goals came in the final four minutes after Red Star went down to 10 men, so the final scoreline was perhaps a little unfair on the visitors.
In a blistering start, Seaham could have been three up in six minutes and did take the lead after nine minutes when Michael Chapman fired past Brooks, giving him no chance.
Alnwick, to their credit, pulled themselves together and, at half-time, the Northumbrians had pulled it back to one apiece as Murray headed in on 25 minutes following a deflection off a defender.
And 10 minutes after the break they were two to the good following Moffet’s 49th-minute strike and Colley’s finish on 53 minutes.
Seaham pulled a goal back from a free-kick out on the right when Chapman curled a high, dipping ball over the wall and past Brooks to ensure a nervy finish.
But Moffet slotted in a penalty on 86 minutes before completing his hat-trick a minute before time when he ran clear and calmly shot past the advancing Ryan Graham.
The two late goals perhaps gave the scoreline a slightly lopsided look but Seaham will be rueing the fact that they could have wrapped up the three points not long after the 3pm kick-off.
In the first minute, the home defence was caught napping by Chapman who ran through the defence to hit a quick cross-shot which slipped narrowly wide of the far-post.
Two minutes later, Kevin Gordon was the next to be clear with only Brooks standing in his way, but he too shot wide.
On six minutes. Chapman combined with Timothy Bowman, only for the latter to chip his shot over the bar.
And Chapman, so lively in the opening spell, made no mistake when he found the back of the net to open the scoring.
After a poor opening 20 minutes, Alnwick got back into the game and following their equaliser had good chances to take the lead.
Murray couldn’t put away a difficult chance in the 30th minute, while the Seaham keeper Ryan Graham had to scramble a minute later to tip the ball past the post. Five minutes later, Moffet could only head wide a cross from the left and Colley was denied by Graham diving at his feet, five minutes before the interval.
Despite going two up eight minutes into the second half, Seaham fired a warning shot on 75 minutes when Adam Ward latched onto a clearance to hit a tremendous shot, which Brooks had to be at full length to pull off a magnificent save.
Alnwick continued to push after Red Star got one back and Damian Baston, out on the right, cut inside to hit a screamer just scraping over the bar on 81 minutes.
The away side’s cause was not helped two minutes later when Adam Drysdale was sent for an early bath after he pulled down Colley as he ran clear.
With 2012 starting to look like a win-free zone, another three points following a good team effort is just what the doctor ordered.
Alnwick face a trip to Brandon United in the league this Saturday.
The St James’ Park outfit will be looking for revenge having already lost twice in three days to the County Durham side this season – at home in the league and away in the E Armstrong Memorial Cup first round last October.
United currently sit four places below Alnwick in the STL Northern League, Division Two.
Alnwick Town: Brooks, Lowes, Catlow, Murray, Patterson, Dundas (Hills - subbed Hodge), Nixon (Baston), Brown, Colley, Moffet, Hogg. Sub: Keenan.