Alnwick Town 3 Whitley Bay 7
Senior Cup – Quarter Final
Brave Alnwick Town were left to imagine would could have been after surrendering a dream 2-0 lead to be knocked out of the Senior Cup by Whitley Bay on Tuesday night.
A quarter-final upset against the four-times FA Vase winners was on the cards thanks to early goals from Dale Kennedy and James Jackson.
But the clinical Seahorses showed their class and turned the tie on its head in the second-half, with six of their seven goals coming after the break.
Whitley Bay goal-machine Paul Chow, who netted in three consecutive Wembley finals, scored a hat-trick, as did club colleague Paul Anthony.
Former Newcastle United forward Phil Airey was also on target for the Northern League, Division One outfit.
Town’s Tony Brown netted a consolation penalty with five minutes remaining.
Despite the defeat, manager Derek Atwell was proud of his side’s display.
Indeed, it was a performance in which Town certainly did not disgrace themselves and if they had taken more of the chances that came their way at key points in the match, then the outcome may have been different.
The first half was particularly impressive, with the Northern League, Division Two side looking organised, disciplined and more than matching their higher-tier opponents.
“I think the scoreline flattered them a little bit. It wasn’t a 7-3 game,” said Atwell.
“Our lads were absolutely tremendous for the first 45 minutes.
“They passed the ball and kept the ball and scored two very good goals and put them on the back foot a little bit.
“You could say, with us leading 2-0, that it was a case of what could have been, but Whitley Bay are a top-quality team and have top-quality players.
“Maybe the defending was a bit lackluster at times, but I think it was good finishing which killed the game off.”
Town opened the scoring after 10 minutes when Kennedy headed in from a corner.
Whitley were in double trouble five minutes later when Jackson slotted in from close range to put the hosts 2-0.
Things could have got even better for Town, but a goal-bound effort from a scramble in the area was hacked clear.
The black ‘n’ whites kept their shape well and reduced the visitors to very few chances.
Whitley did pull one back in the 26th minute when Chow shot from just inside the area.
Town went into the break ahead, but it didn’t last long into the second period.
Just two minutes after the interval, Whitley drew level through Anthony. Town tried to clear the ball off the line, but the clearance hit Anthony and rebounded back into an empty net.
This didn’t deter Town and the St James’ Park side were looking good value. They came close to regaining the lead, but keeper Thomas Kindley pulled off a stop from close range.
Not long after, Whitley went ahead for the first time in the game. Just after the hour mark, Airey showed his class as he hit a low shot into the far corner from outside the box.
A minute later, Whitley went 4-2 ahead, as Anthony grabbed his second of the match.
Whitley were ruthless in front of goal and increased their lead, as Anthony and Chow completed their hat-tricks. The latter grabbed his third from the spot.
Town pulled one back when Brown converted from 12 yards, after Kieran Hogg was fouled in the box.
After the match, Atwell said his team held their own against a quality Whitley Bay outfit and believes it shows his side can do well in Division Two this season,
Alnwick: D Mullen, B Murray, D Hills, D Lowes, T Macpherson, K Elliott (S Sullivan), A Makin, T Brown, D Kennedy, J Jackson (K Collins), K Hogg. Subs: T Vickers, B Brooks, P Murray.