The Wick Return To Winning Ways
It was almost 4 months since Alnwick Town had that winning feeling, and they experienced it at Grounsell Park with a thoroughly deserved win against promotion chasers Heaton Stannington.
|Heaton Stannington||1 - 2||Alnwick Town|
|Wotherspoon (34m)||Brown T (39m, pen)|
|Wright J (SO 79m)||Riddell D (46m)|
Alnwick travelled to Heaton Stannington on Saturday down to the bare bones. A squad of 12, with manager Stu Purvis including himself on the bench just in case to add to the numbers. Starting places for Laviers and Danny Lowes, along with the returning Phil Bright.
It was a cagey opening few minutes, with the players adapting to the low sunlight and breezy conditions. Heaton would have the opening chances, but efforts would go into the side netting and over the bar.
The tone of the game was being set early doors for Alnwick. They were having joy down the wings, with the fullbacks struggling to cope with Bright and Laviers when they pushed forward.
Darren Riddell would have Alnwick's first chance of the game, but his curling effort from distance was easily gathered by the keeper at his near post.
The game came to life in the 33rd minute. A ball into the box was chested down by Tony Brown, who fired a half volley inches over the bar. Alnwick's best chance of the game.
Straight from that effort, Heaton would take the lead. Down their left hand side, a cross by Sayer was headed home at the far post by Wetherspoon. 1-0 to the hosts.
Alnwick weren't giving up though, and continued to pressure, especially down the left side of Jake Lowes and Phil Bright.
Just 5 minutes later, Alnwick were back in the game. Another counter attacked, and with the ball coming across the box, was controlled by Westphal who was then brought down. No complaints, penalty to Alnwick. The ever reliable Tony Brown stepped up to slot into the bottom corner. 1-1 and game on.
Rob Hodgson would ensure that Alnwick went in 1-1 at half time producing a fine save from Hall. HT 1-1.
2nd half and Alnwick came out even better. A break again down the left, Jake Lowes playing in Phil Bright, who crossed for Darren Riddell to head home and give the away side the lead. (1-2)
Rob Hodgson would produce his best save of the game in the 53rd minute, getting a solid hand to Jon Wright's effort.
Alnwick were defending well. Straughan, Scott and the Lowes' brothers were proving difficult to breach. The home side were given little time on the ball thanks to the pressuring and chasing of Riddell, Westphal, Laidlaw and Brown who all put in a shift in the middle of the park.
Heaton were left with a mountain to climb 10 minutes from time. Jon Wright went down in the box claiming a penalty, but the referee waved away his claims. Obviously not happy with the decision, his words to the referee were less than favourable, and he was shown a straight red card, despite being warned about dissent earlier in the game.
Heaton tried to push on, but Alnwick found themselves in the opposition final third more often than not in the final few minutes, and secured a vital 3 points on the road.
A brilliant performance from the lads. The reaction of the players at the final whistle showed just how much the result meant, and that this club will not be going anywhere without a fight.
Team: Hodgson, Lowes D, Lowes J (Brotherwick S), Laidlaw C, Straughan R, Scott P, Laviers A, Brown T, Riddell D, Westphal K, Bright P
Unused: Purvis S
Next up (weather pending), Jarrow away on Wednesday night, followed by Easington Colliery at home next Saturday.