It was a much improved performance from Alnwick right from the start, after having not won in their last four matches, scoring just a single goal.
Jonathyn Quinn's early through ball.
Hosts Wallington’s direct approach was allowing Alnwick to win back possession often and Quinn appeared keen to make the most of it. In a more advanced position, he became the target man for most of Alnwick’s attacks in the first 45 and gave a glimpse of what was to come in only the second minute. Quinn gathered a long pass forward but with his back to goal, passed on responsibility to midfield partner, Craig Muter, though the latters through ball was just slightly too heavy for the forward running Scott Maddison.
Eventually, however, the attacking approach paid dividends for Wallington, on the 15 minute mark. Josh Laverick played a long ball forward across the floor all the way from defence straight into the feet of John Paxton. Holding off his defender on the edge of the box, Paxton laid the ball back to Barker. He then squared the ball to his right where Jake Walton was waiting. About 25 yards out, no one was expecting him to shoot, most of all Callum Brooks in the Alnwick goal, who was left stranded as the ball flew over his head and put the hosts 1-0 up.
The goal came rather against the run of play and the visitors showed they hadn’t got their heads down, arguably stating a case they should have been ahead before the break. Scott Maddison scored Alnwick’s only goal in four matches prior to kick-off in this match and he was the recipient of two strong chances for his side.
Scott Maddison holding off the Wallington defender.
The first, a pin-point corner from Kieran Hogg was directed straight onto Maddison’s head and it appeared all the forward had to do was stand still to guarantee scoring but rather moved his head out of the flight path of the ball.
The second, a one on one situation. After beating his marker for pace, Maddison mis-hit his effort and it was an easy save for Wallington ‘keeper Aaron Carr to keep his side 1-0 up at the break.
Early in the second half, Maddison was to pay for his efforts missed in the first 45. He was replaced by the returning Morrison who was making his first appearance of the season.
But it was another threatening corner from Hogg which drew the visitors level. This time it was the impressive Quinn on the end of the cross, dominating in the air this time to power home his header from close range.
Alnwick celebrate their 1st goal of the game through Jonathyn Quinn.
Morrison was posing even more threat for the away side since coming on. With half an hour to go, Craig Muter sent Morrison in behind the defenders down the right. His cross was met by Quinn who chopped the ball onto his left foot. He tried to manoeuver his body and eventually placed a right footed effort towards goal but it was another comfortable save for Carr. A miss which Alnwick rued.
Wallington went ahead again shortly after a long throw into the box from Walton passed everyone but Simon Farrier who powered home to put Alnwick behind again.
Substitute Jake Morrison would inspire a late comeback for the visitors.
But all their attacking promise eventually paid off for Alnwick and specifically Morrison. Leon Midgley’s introduction from the bench immediately made a difference. He controlled Hogg’s long free-kick forward, on the left of the oppositions 6-yard box. Unable to turn onto goal, he passed to his left where Morrison was lurking side on to goal. On the turn, his first-time left-footed effort simply cushioned the ball goalwards and into the far bottom corner.
Wallington hadn’t suffered defeat since the turn of the year and Alnwick hadn’t experienced victory in four matches but the visitors weren’t finished yet. In added time, Morrison managed to flick the ball over his own head as well as his marker to put Midgley one on one. The shot was delayed, Midgley rather choosing to cut back onto his right foot and round his defender. His second touch took him further into the box where he was tackled and fell to the floor to appeals for a penalty. Nothing was given but a corner.
Evan McEwan put in a man of the match performance on his 1st start for the club.
This time Joseph Threlfall, off the bench, took the set-piece which lofted over everyone at the front and middle of the box, falling to the feet of Morrison at the back post. He took once touch to control the ball and his nerves, and then smashed the ball into the roof of the net to give Alnwick the victory at the death.
Alnwick return to St James’ Park for their next fixture, against North Shields Athletic.
Alnwick Town starting line-up: Brooks, Bambra, Dundas (Midgley 70’), Frost, Hogg, Scarth (Eastlake 60’), McEwan, Quinn, Muter, Moore (Threlfall 85’), Maddison (Morrison 50’)
Unused subs: Yeadon
Walington starting line-up: Carr, Meehan, Millican, Laverick, Maddison, Reardon, Willis, Barker, Walton, Farrier, Paxton.
Photos by Jason Sumner.