The youth team graduate scored for the second week in a row after being promoted from the bench into the starting line-up for the trip to Whitley Bay A but even his impact couldn’t stop Whitley Bay A’s fight from relegation.
Midgley, who was deployed behind striker Philip Airey, also added another assist to his previous one picked up just two weeks prior but it appeared at first that the bottom of the table side, Whitley Bay, had all the ideas.
Their first goal was arguably simpler. A direct free-kick from Marcus Summers taken from the left hand-side, about 20 yards out, was always on target but caught Town’s goalkeeper, Callum Brooks off guard when it missed everyone in the box and went straight in.
The home side kept pressing with a similar style of play. Firstly, Summers turned provider with a long ball deep from his own half, aimed at Mackenzie Sharpe on the right wing, but the winger failed to read the play.
Shortly after, Summer’s midfield partner, Lewis Shorrock delivered the long ball forward from a similar deep position, this time over Craig Muter’s head and towards Mackenzie Sharp who controlled the ball in his run on goal. Cutting in from out wide, one on one with Brooks, Mackenzie had time to pick his spot and simply place the ball past the ‘keeper.
With Midgley taking his place in the starting eleven, Jonathyn Quinn played in a deeper role than in previous weeks but was still managing to begin the majority of his side’s attacks.
He managed to find both Airey and Midgley in behind the Whitley Bay defence, on separate occasions. Airey’s was denied by the off-side flag while Midgely’s toe-kick on the stretch was straight at the goalkeeper.
The two attackers did combine just before half-time to score Alnwick’s first of the game. Hard work and strength from Midgley, inside the box, led him to stealing the ball off the defender. His next touch knocked the ball round the goalkeeper but to avoid a tracking defender, he squared the ball to the available Airey who was left to slot home into an empty net and give Alnwick hope going into the break.
Shortly after kicking off, Alnwick continued in the same attacking vein and the comeback was complete. Midgley was involved again, this time the scorer. Ross Moore’s corner was headed back into the pack by Jorden Frost at the back post. Midgley, facing the ball but side on to goal, calculated the bounce of the ball. He and the ball rose into the air, the player swivelling his body in the process to direct the ball goalwards, with his toe, and into the top left corner.
Whitley Bay’s lead was nearly restored immediately. Shorrock cut back onto his right foot, beating his man inside the box, but his shot was blocked. The game’s fast pace was then given some rest bite. Moore remained on the ground receiving treatment after a clash of heads. After about five minutes his game was up and he left the field with his head heavily bandaged, replaced by Jonathan Colley.
It was Whitley Bay who ended the game the happier, and with all three points. Brooks failed to deal with Hart’s corner and his failed attempt to catch the cross only parried the ball into the path of James Lee. Around the penalty spot, Lee only had to hit the target with some sort of power, and did so to give Whitley Bay a valuable victory in their search for safety.
Alnwick return to St James’ Park next week as they face Newcastle Chemfica in the Northern Alliance Premier. Whitley Bay A starting line-up: Glasper, Summers, Lee, Suddick, Marshall, Dunne, Lough (Beattie ’74), Shorrock, Hart (Harding ’90), Taylor (Best ’79), Sharpe (Coaley ’90)
Alnwick Town starting line-up: Brooks, Muter (Briggs ’45), Henderson, McEwan, Pickard, Frost, Moore (Colley ’66), Quinn, Airey (Maddison ’75), Midgley, Threlfall (Eastlake ’48).