It was a much improved performance from Alnwick Town on Tuesday night at St James’ Park, but in the end Billingham Synthonia showed why they are one of the promotion favourites coming out on top at the end of 90 minutes.
Alnwick Town 2-4 Billingham Synthonia
Brown T, Macpherson T; Langstaff M (3), Osmond M
Changes were made by the home side, with Dale Kennedy making his first appearance of the season up front alongside Josh Hay, and Jake Lowes also came in at left wing.
It was a positive start from both sides, but within with first 10 minutes Alnwick found themselves 2-0 down.
The first goal, Alnwick were caught on the break, and left wing Macaulay Langstaff drilled in from the edge of the box to give the visitors the lead in the 6th minute.
The home side were caught out again 2 minutes later, with Langstaff again the scorer, tapping home from close range following a break down the right. A nightmare start score wise for the home side.
Alnwick didn’t give in though, and got back into the game just 3 minutes later. A great ball by Josh Hay across the box was drilled home by Tony Brown to reduce the deficit.
The away side were probably expecting an easier game than what they were getting, and were struggling to cope with Alnwick’s pressing and physical play.
Tony Brown almost got his 2nd of the game in the 20th minute. A freekick from 20 yards out was tipped onto the face of the crossbar.
The home side weren’t to be denied any longer though. A cross into the box in the 24th minute was headed back across by Ross Straughan, and Tom Macpherson, making his 200th appearance for the club got on the end of it with a diving header. Scores back level, much to the delight of the home crowd.
Both sides were playing some brilliant football, and you couldn’t tell which team was top of the form table or bottom.
The away side though regained their 2 goal advantage with 2 strikes from distance around the half hour mark.
First, Langstaff completed a first half hat-trick, drilling the ball into the top corner, followed by Matthew Osmond, who smashed the ball home from distance giving keeper Brooks no chance. 2-4 at half time, but Alnwick were playing well and unlucky to be behind.
The 2nd half lost some of the momentum of the 1st half, producing no further goals. Efforts from Tony Brown went just wide, and the task was made more difficult when Kennedy was shown a straight red for a lunging tackle. Players argued the ball was won, but the referee deemed the player to not be in control of the challenge.
Ross Straughan had a shot tipped over in stoppage time to deny a grandstand finish, and the final whistle ended the game at 2-4.
A much improved performance from the home side, who have 10 games left to ensure their safety in the Northern League. Next up, Ryhope CW away on Saturday 12th March.
Alnwick: Brooks C, Dixon J (Brooks L), Hogg K (Dundas L), Gair R, Macpherson T, Straughan R, Riddell D, Brown T, Kennedy D, Hay J, Lowes J (Schiavetta D)
Unused: Jackson J, Willis J
Highlights of the game courtesy of Billingham Synthonia are available here