Darlington Take 3 Points In Basement Battle
The bottom 2 sides of the Northern League went head to head on Wednesday night, and it was the home side Darlington Railway Athletic that kept the 3 points in County Durham with a 2-1 win to open up a 5 point gap between the 2 teams.
|Darlington RA||2-1||Alnwick Town|
|Tarn C (13m)||Hay J (25m)|
|Donaldson G (70m)||Attendance 55|
2 changes were made to the side that lost to Blyth at the weekend, with Tony Brown and Lewis Robson starting in place of Kevin Westphal and Alex Laviers who started from the bench.
The first half had plenty of chances for both sides and with better finishing it could have quite easily been 3-3. The early warning signs were there for Alnwick, but failure to clear the ball from in and around the danger area would come back to haunt them.
Darlington took the lead on 13 minutes courtesy of Chris Tarn. Despite the best efforts of Scott Brotherick and Jake Lowes who brilliantly blocked consecutive efforts on the goal line, the danger wasn't cleared and Tarn eventually turned the ball in (1-0).
Alnwick drew level on 25 minutes. Lewis Robson's through ball to Josh Hay beat the offside trap, and after a couple of touches to compose himself he fired into the bottom corner. (1-1)
Both teams saw chances go begging before half time, with 2 efforts hit over for the home side from close range, and Phil Bright, Josh Hay and Ryan Douglas all unable to capitalise on efforts to give Alnwick the lead. Half Time 1-1.
2nd half was a much more nervous occasion with both sides knowing that 3 points would make a massive difference to any chance of surviving the drop.
Josh Hay would have Alnwick's best chance, but an unfortunate bobble before striking the ball saw his effort from close range go wide.
Darlington were playing growing into the game as it went on, and took the lead in the 70th minute. A corner wasn't cleared and Donaldons fired in from close range. (2-1)
The home side should have wrapped up the points before 90 minutes, but saw a header flash inches wide and a shot well saved by Hodgson.
Full time and a 2-1 win for Darlington RA. Alnwick remain on 20 points, with Brandon on 22, Bedlington and Darlington on 25. With the uncertainty of the number of relegation places still hanging over sides at the bottom, the result could mean nothing after 40 games with all 4 sides possibly set for the drop. 9 games to go, 27 points to play for. Alnwick must get as many as they can and finish as high as they can to try and save the season.
Team: Hodgson R, Lowes D, Lowes J (Riddell D), Laidlaw C (Westphal K), Straughan R, Brotherick S, Douglas R, Brown T, Hay J, Robson L (Laviers A), Bright P
Unused: Graham C, Scott P
Next up - Away to Billingham Town on Saturday.