Heaton Stannington 3 - 1 Alnwick Town
Alnwick Town suffered the Bank Holiday blues at Grounsell Park on Bank Holiday Monday, going down 3-1 despite a spirited performance.
Alnwick went into the game with a number of players missing through injuries and other commitments, including Brad McClelland, Danny Lowes, Nathan Brown, Tony Brown and Josh Willis.
And it got off to the worst possible start. With just over 7 minutes on the clock, goalkeeper Brooks played a short goalkick to Willis, who when under pressure played the ball back short, causing Brooks to react and bring down the Heaton striker inside the area. The referee pointed the spot and produced the red card for the young goalkeeper.
James Jackson took the gloves, but was unable to save the resulting penalty (despite asking for no 'blasties').
Despite having a man advantage, Heaton never really troubled the deputising goalkeeper, and Alnwick had the best chance of the half. Riddell rode a couple of challenges, took the ball around the advancing goalkeeper, but somehow managed to steer the ball wide of the open goal.
The 2nd half saw a debut for Paul Nisbet, on in place of James Jackson to take his turn in goal, and Ross Gair came on for Chris Glass.
Chances came and went for the home side, as it looked as though tiring legs and the extra man would start to take advantage.
The away side have other ideas though, and Jamie Dixon drove at the Heaton defence, a cross came in for Jordan Miller to control and smash home on his debut to level the scores at 1-1. It was the least the lone front man deserved on his debut putting in a fine performance.
With ten minutes to go though, Alnwick created their own mistakes and Heaton regained the advantage. From a foul thrown, Heaton broke down the other end and beat a helpless Nisbet in goal, who had made 2 top class saves earlier in the half.
As time ticked away, the away side couldn't break though the Heaton backline and goalkeeper, and in the dying seconds got their 3rd, with the ball being lobbed over the advancing Nisbet.
A harsh scoreline on the visitors for their efforts playing with 10 men for over 80 minutes, but they gave themselves too much to do from the start.
Manager Jon Egen afterwards said, "We worked hard to get back into the game but the combination of 10 players and 2 games in 3 days saw us lose concentration in the last 15 mins and concede 2 goals. However we will move forward with optimism knowing we travel to Billingham with a good chance of getting a result."
Team: Brooks C, Dundas L, Baker R, Dixon J, Macpherson T, Straughan R, Riddell D, Willis K, Miller J, Glass C, Jackson J
Subs: Nisbet P (on for Jackson), Gair R (on for Glass), Briggs J (on for Dixon)
Unused: Moore R