Northallerton Town 6 - 6 Alnwick Town
There are some games of football that are forgotten by the following day, but Northallerton Town and Alnwick Town played out one of the most entertaining, end to end games likely to have been seen in the Northern League since its beginning in 1889.
|Northallerton Town||6 - 6||Alnwick Town|
|Ramsbottom A (36, 62)||Baker R (10, 14)|
|Jarvie L (2)||Bright P (25, 57)|
|Hudson S (27)||Westphal K (52)|
|Anderson C (86)||Laviers A (78)|
The weekend brought a chance for Alnwick Town to let football on the pitch do the talking, following a change to the management team during the week. Steve Mullen and Derek Atwell left their positions of Manager and Assistant respectively, with Stu Purvis (Assistant Manager at the beginning of the season) coming in to manage the club until the end of the season. He will be assisted by Georgi Raev who has stayed at the club.
There were 3 changes to the Alnwick starting line-up from last week's unlucky defeat to Thornaby. Starting places for Jake Lowes, Ryan Douglas and Rob Baker. Joe Threlfall would start from the bench, along with Joe Pickard and Alex Laviers. Long serving Danny Lowes and Ross Straughan would miss out due to family and work commitments.
This was Alnwick's 2nd journey to Northallerton Town this season, having previously visited in the FA Vase earlier in the season, losing 4-2. The previous season saw the club suffer what it possibly a record defeat, going down 11-1.
2 minutes into the game, it felt like it was going to be a long afternoon, as the hosts took the lead. It was all to easy as Northallerton worked their way down the left hand side, and a ball into the area was hit home by Ryan Jarvie. (1-0).
The away side though, responded. On a very heavy pitch, Alnwick were pressing high, channeling balls down the wings for Robson and Bright to chase, with Baker and Riddell not allowing any time for the centre backs. Their persistence paid off with 10 minutes on the clock.
A short pass was cut out by Baker, who took a couple of touches before hitting a low shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the box. (1-1)
Deja-vu, as history was repeating itself, the game following the same course as the FA Vase game earlier in the season, but Alnwick weren't done.
14 minutes on the clock, Riddell found space down the left. Instead of crossing, he pulled back to Bright, who crossed in for Baker who leapt through the air to head home and give the away side a shock, but deserved lead. The league leaders were behind! (1-2)
Chances were still coming at the away end, but efforts were easily dealt with by Hodgson.
25 minutes on the clock, and the goal of the day, the month, possibly the season. Phil Bright picked up the ball around 25 yards out a couple of touches to compose himself, and he unleashed an unstoppable effort into the top corner. An outstanding effort, and Alnwick were flying. (1-3)
Now in most cases, you'd like to keep things tight and settle things down, but as we've discovered over plenty of years, that isn't really the Alnwick way.
Two goals before half time from Hudson (27) and Ramsbottom (36) would level the scores, the first following an unfortunate slip by a defender, and the 3rd a ball not cleared in the box. Half time at 3-3, you would not have placed Alnwick at the foot of the table that's for sure.
2nd half and an Alnwick counter attack would put the away side back in front once again. Westphal, Baker, Riddell, Brown, Robson and Bright were tormenting the defence, and neat interplay between the midfield and forwards would fall to Westphal 6 yards out who slid in to make it 3-4 after 52 minutes.
The 2 goal lead for the away side was restored in the 57th minute, and it was the impressive Phil Bright once again. His left foot drive into the bottom corner once again gave the keeper no chance. The few travelling contingent behind the goal couldn't believe their eyes. (3-5)
Ramsbottom would once against bring Northallerton back into the game in the 62nd minute with a header to make it 4-5. Despite claims of a foul on the keeper the goal was awarded.
Fresh legs of Alex Laviers were brought on for Lewis Robson, and he had an impact just 10 minutes later. Another Alnwick counter attack would fall to Baker, who played an inch perfect crossfield ball to Laviers, who unleashed a first time effort which flew into the bottom corner. 2 goal lead restored again with 12 minutes + stoppage time remaining. (4-6).
The Alnwick lads were giving their all. Threlfall was brought on for Riddell who had ran himself into the ground putting in a captain's performance.
86 minutes on the clock, and Anderson would bundle an effort home in the box yet again. (5-6). Alnwick hanging on by a thread.
89 minutes and heartbreak yet again. As a Northallerton player stretched to keep a ball in play and cross, everyone stopped believing the ball was well over the line. Jackson hit the ball into the net anyway, and the goal was awarded. 6-6, with the Alnwick players shocked and frustrated by the decision of the officials.
Half chances fell to both sides in injury time, but no further goals. Full time, 6-6, with bottom of the table Alnwick Town disappointed not to have taken all 3 points away at top of the table Northallerton Town.
The whole squad involved dug deep and put in a performance for the club to be proud of. Our longest journey of the Northern League, and the 10 match losing run comes to a well deserved end. On another day the club make the long journey back with 3 well deserved points, but we take the point, we take the positives, and look forward to another tough challenge next weekend at home to Hebburn Town.
Team: Hodgson R, Laidlaw C, Lowes J, Brown T, Douglas R, Scott P, Robson L (Laviers A), Westphal K, Riddell D (Threlfall J), Baker R, Bright P.
Unused: Pickard J
Next: Hebburn Town - Home on Saturday 10th February, 3pm KO