Match Report by Ben Swain.
An own goal, a penalty and a defensive error sealed the fate of the hosts but they almost rescued a point in the dying moments.
Jorden Frost’s weak defensive header back to his keeper was the final nail in the coffin following Jack Henderson’s intended clearance ending up in his own goal earlier in the match meant it was a day to forget for the defenders but the final result was touch and go right until the end.
Leon Midgley’s second half introduction certainly made a difference for Alnwick, after he levelled the score shortly after being brought on but his left-footed half-volley from the edge of the box, in added-time, meant Alnwick didn’t quite do enough to right the wrongs from earlier.
Alnwick infact started the game the much brighter.
Evan McEwan once again started in midfield.
Within the first 10 minutes the bar had been struck for the first time in the game, originally by Ross Moore. Jorden Frost’s long ball from defence lofted over everyone and put Phil Airey in behind the visitors’ back line. He drilled his cross from the left and found Moore on the other wing waiting for his chance. While the winger only found the underside of the woodwork from five yards out, the deadlock was broken just minutes later by the hosts.
Ryan Douglas’ corner from the right fell at the feet of Jonathyn Quinn. His initial shot was blocked but the rebound dropped to Frost who smashed home from close range to open the scoring for Alnwick.
Alnwick’s lead was extremely short-lived, however. Adam Tierney refused to give up a great shooting opportunity for the visitors after a defensive clearance fell straight into his path on the edge of the box. His shot was fired across goal into a crowd of players but passed all the way through to the defending Jack Henderson. He managed to get the ball tangled in his feet, however, and instead of clearing, directed the ball behind him into his own goal.
Worse was to come for Alnwick in the second half.
This time North Shields took the lead. Philip Watson played a clever one two with Dean Blacklock to work his way past his marker. His first touch, after receiving the ball again, took him past the onrushing Callum Brooks in the Alnwick goal but with an open net to aim at, the forward was brought down. Watson took the penalty himself and sent the ‘keeper the wrong way to put his side ahead for the first time.
Substitute Joe Threlfall battles for possession.
Midgley’s introduction came early in the second half, replacing Moore, and the latter’s presence was quickly felt. His skilful run down the left touch line seen him beat his marker and direct his run infield towards goal, when he was brought down. Kieran Hogg took the deep free-kick which was cleared by Athletic’s defence but the loose ball was gathered again by Midgley on the right-side edge of the opposition box. He struck a sweetly hit half volley across the Athletic’s ‘keeper and into the back of the net for his first goal for the club.
It was another error which cost Alnwick the game however as Frost’s header back to his ‘keeper lacked enough power to make the distance and gave Watson a glorious opportunity to restore Athletic’s lead. The North Shields forward’s gamble to run in behind the defender paid dividends as he was left one on one with the keeper. He just bided his time to place his simple shot into the net, and his side back into the lead before late drama finished the game.
Kieran Hogg's late freekick was just off target.
Midgley again picked up the ball on the edge of the box by cushioning it into his path using his chest. After one bounce of the ball and steadying his stride, he unleashed a left-footed strike but this time the ball smashed against the bar. Alnwick inches away from saving a point from an evenly fought match.
Next up for Alnwick is a trip to Whitley Bay A next Saturday.
Alnwick Town starting line-up: Brooks, Henderson (Lowes ’50), Frost, Dundas (Pickard ’22), Hogg, McEwan, Moore (Midgley ’50), Douglas, Quinn, Scarth (Threlfall ’70), Airey
Unused subs: Muter
North Shields Athletic starting line-up: Kirtley, Tierney, Hewitson, Hunter, Brown, Gillespie (Stanistreet ’75), Begbie (McCarthy ’81), Blacklock, Watson (Ransome ’77), Junior, Matsvimbo
Unused subs: Pilling, Poole