Alnwick Town 1-2 Heaton Stannington
Monday 29 August 2016
On a beautiful bank holiday Monday morning in deepest Northumberland, the Stan played their 7th away league match in a row and their 4th in 9 days. There were 2 changes from Saturday’s starting 11 and midfielder Dean Imray was part of a make-shift defence.
Both sides started positively. Smith caught a home effort in the 5th minute with a great shot by Robinson going just wide after 9 minutes. 3 minutes later and McCabe lost the ball on the left but the Town counter attack ended with a great save by Smith. Both teams were not afraid to get stuck in, especially the home defence. In the 14th minute Alnwick shot just wide followed by a good header by Robinson that was caught by the keeper. The atmosphere was slightly soured by the constant moaning of the home players even when a decision was given in their favour. They were not happy in the 18th minute when a bad tackle by Miller was followed by a foul being given for a shoulder charge. Robinson took the free kick and shot just wide. 4 minutes later, Town shot just wide and then Imray gave the ball away but Smith caught the ball from the resulting header. Great work by Walton then saw a corner awarded but Antony eventually put the ball over. The Stan were taking control of the game, partly through some good tackling and ball winning and due to a lack of confidence in the home defence. Alnwick did come close in 37 minutes when Smith made a stretching save to deny them. 2 minutes later, Antony sent a great corner ball to Yates on the edge of the box whose shot was stopped by a good save by the keeper. The end of the half saw the Stan increase the pressure. Robinson held off a defender and shot just wide past the out-coming keeper. After a Dixon chip went over, Philipson passed to the advancing Dixon who shot just over when he looked like scoring.
The Stan, shooting downhill, attacked immediately on the restart and effectively secured a win within 3 minutes even though Town were getting stuck in and leaving little space. In the 47th minute, an Antony free kick went straight through the crowded box and the keeper saved but Gary Dixon blasted the rebound into the net. Less than a minute later, Dan Robinson was in on the keeper and made it 2-0. He has now scored in the last 5 games notching up 6 goals. 2 minutes later, a Yates effort was cleared off the line. Dixon was then caught in the ribs and had to be replaced by Bynoe. Most of the pressure was by the Stan and the home side were getting increasingly frustrated and louder, especially the centre halves. With a nautical festival taking place nearby at Blyth, the term ‘tall ships’ (but with 1 letter changed) came to mind. Town did have a sustained attack in the 57th minute but then back Bynoe shot over. Along with Robinson, he tried to get in on goal, and beat offside, whenever he could. It was all Stan until the 70th minute when Smith caught a long shot and 2 minutes later caught again. The home didn’t attack again for nearly 10 minutes with the Stan pressing for a 3rd goal. Walton got by a defender and shot just wide in 76 minutes and a Bynoe effort was then halted by a good tackle. In 86 minutes, the Stan should have wrapped things up when a great ball across the box by Robinson saw sub Lee Johnson launch himself superman style into the air in front of goal but his head failed to make contact with the ball. Town then attacked with Smith putting the ball out for a corner which was then sent into the crowded box for Jordan Miller to put away. The Stan still looked confident with Alnwick lacking composure and receiving 2 more bookings in the final few minutes. The Stan are now undefeated in 5 matches, have won their last 4 and are up to 5th place in the league. Bring on Team North!
Stan Team: Smith; McCabe; James; Scott; Imray; Bailey; Antony; Walton (Johnson); Robinson; Yates; Dixon (Bynoe). Unused sub: Walker.