Alnwick Town 3 v 1 Willington
Alnwick Town kicked off the 2017-18 Northern League season where they left off from last season, with 3 well earned points at St James' Park.
|Young S (8m, 65m)||McMahon G (15m)|
|Coyle L (17m)|
|Macpherson T (SO)|
Friday 4th August 2017 - 7:45pm KO at St James' Park
Although the home side would finish the game with 10 men, it was a confident and comfortable display from a team fielding 5 debutants, 2 of which would open their goalscoring accounts for the club.
In a match sponsored by AA Taxis, it was a frantic opening 20 minutes, with 3 goals being scored by 2 sides keen to make an impression early in the season.
Alnwick took the advantage first in the 8th minute. New player coach Stephen Young was played through on goal, and with his years of experience in the Northern League, calmly rounded the goalkeeper to put Alnwick 1-0 up.
Young almost doubled Alnwick's lead a couple of minutes later, but his delicate chip was just inches over the bar.
The home supporters were enjoying this one as Alnwick played good football, but were briefly silenced as Gareth McMahon was left unmarked in the box leaving new keeper Ian Todd no change. 1-1 after 15 minutes.
The visitors were not level for long though. Alnwick pressed quickly, and although visiting keeper Lewis Graham was able to save a first effort, Lewis Coyle was there at the rebound to make it 2-1 to the home side in the 17th minute.
The remainder of the 1st half settled down a bit, with only an injury to Jonny Wilson and a booking to Tom Macpherson of note for dissent following an off the ball incident with a Willington player.
Jake Lowes replaced the injured Wilson at half time, slotting in a left-back allowing the returning Kieran Hogg to move into midfield.
Willington almost grabbed an equaliser in the 55th minute. One of the only times in the game where the home side looked a bit shaky, a succession of corners resulted in the post being struck, and Jake Lowes clearing off the line.
The fourth and final goal of the game came in the 65th minute, and it was the best of the lot. A loose ball was picked up in midfield and sprayed out wide the Coyle. As Alnwick players swarmed into the box, the ball was squared perfectly to Stephen Young to smash home his 2nd of the game and Alnwick's 3rd. 3-1 with 25 minutes to go, and surely no issues.
The referee had other ideas, and the earlier booking for Macpherson would come back to haunt him in the 70th minute. Having brought down a Willington midfielder near the byline, the officials deemed it worthy of a 2nd yellow card. Harsh to say the least. Kieran Hogg would move back into centre half alongside Ross Straughan.
Despite the red card, the finishing back for of Straughan, Hogg and the Lowes brothers were rarely troubled. A late effort from Lewis Coyle almost gave Alnwick a fourth, but Alnwick settled for a comfortable 3-1 victory to move them top of the table for the night.
A big thank you to our Boys Under 8's side who were mascots for the night, and the 143 who came along to support the lads in our opening game.
Team: Todd I, Lowes D, Hogg K, Macpherson T, Straughan R, Keenan A, Wilson J (Lowes D, Brown T, Young S, Coyle L, Laidlaw C (Jackson J)
Unused sub: Brooks C, Bell S
Thanks to Steve Miller and Jason Sumner for the photographs.