Big Bad Brad's Back

August 11, 2018
Big Bad Brad's Back

A hat-trick from returning centre forward Brad McClelland helped Alnwick Town along their way to an impressive 4-1 away win at North Shields Athletic on their return to the Northern Alliance Premier Division.

North Shields Athletic 1-4 Alnwick Town
Wyres (87m)  

McClelland B
(3m, 11m, 66m)

    Maddison S (54m)

In a much changed side to the one that ended last season in the Northern League, 2 league debuts were handed to Brendan Balmbra in defence and Scott Maddison upfront. Only Jakes Lowes and Joe Pickard were main-stays of the previous campaign in the starting 11, with the rest all returning to the club following previous spells.

The new look side took no time at all to take the lead, and it all honesty they never looked like giving it up.

Only 3 minutes were on the clock when Brad McClelland was played through 1 on 1, and he made no mistake to give the away side an early lead (0-1).

Although the home side also had a couple of early chances themselve (a header and a well hit strike on the half volley both going just wide), it was the away side that doubled their lead in the 11th minute. Brad McClelland once again finding space, and this time putting the ball away from the keeper into the bottom corner. (0-2)

Athletic would hit the post in the 25th minute with a header from a corner, but captain Jake Lowes was on the post covering and made sure the ball went the wrong side of the post.

Alnwick ended the 1st half with two good chances, the first was a dangerous ball whipped in by Jake Lowes, but it was just out of reach for McClelland who was looking for his hat-trick, and in the 41st minute he was denied well by the home keeper.

Half time, and Alnwick comfortable at 2 goals up.

The 2nd half and Alnwick once again started well. Jonny Colley going close with a run and shot just wide, and it would take until the 54th minute to virtually seal the game. Scott Maddison found himself heading towards the corner flag, when he whipped in a cross with his right foot that somehow managed to curl over the keeper and inside the far post. an unbelieveable goal and one that needed the cameras there to believe it. His first goal for the club on debut. (0-3)

Ross Moore came close but his well hit effort was well blocked by the home defender.

Captain Jake Lowes who put in a cracking performance was forced off with a slight injury in the 65th minute, being replaced by Craig Muter for his league debut.

Assistant Manager Ben Webster, who was taking care of the 1st team for the day, will class the change as a tactical masterpiece, as Alnwick went 4-0 up less than a minute later, and it was Brad McClelland on hand to grab his hat-trick in the 66th minute. What a way to mark your return to the club. (0-4)

The game began to slow down with the tie all but over. The hosts never gave up though, still trying to break through the Alnwick defence, but the backline were having a steady afternoon, along with Briggs and Quinn in the centre of midfield.

Further substitutions followed. Reece Ramsey making his debut in place of Jamie Dixon, and Liam Cravagan replaced the man of the moment Brad McClelland. Cravagan would hit an effort over the bar, and Ramsey flicked a header just wide.

Callum Brooks, who had done well on his return in goal, will have been disappointed to concede in the 87th minute, but North Shields Athletic striker Wyres would plant a header into the bottom corner that he had no chacne with. (1-4).

Full time, and a good win for Alnwick Town back in the Northern Alliance Premier Division.

Next up - Gateshead A (away) on Wednesday, 6:15pm KO.

Team: Brooks C, Pickard J, Lowes J (Muter C), Balmbra B, Dixon J (Ramsey R), Briggs J, Moore R, Quinn J, Maddison S, McClelland B (Cravagan L), Colley J
Unused Subs: Webster B, Clark M

Photos by Steve Miller