Alnwick Town 2-4 Heaton Stannington
Northumberland Senior Cup 1st Round
Tuesday 25 October 2016
A crisp Tuesday night saw the Stan at St James Park’ as they travelled to Alnwick for the first round of the Northumberland Senior Cup. Having got to the semi-finals last year, before going out against Blyth Spartans, hopes were high of another cup run this season.
The Stan made 4 changes to the side, 3 of which were in the defence with only Graham Williams remaining from Saturday’s disappointing defeat against Crook. They were soon on the back foot though as in the 8th minute Alnwick attacked but Brent Aisbitt pulled his shot wide when in a good position. At the other end the returning Paul Blackett linked up with Dan Robinson to create a chance in the 12th minute but as Blackett was about to pull the trigger he was excellently tackled. Alnwick counter attacked and had it not been for a smart save from Smith they would have taken the lead. The home side appeared to be on top and should have taken the lead in the 18th minute when Josh Hay got in behind the Stan defence but he was again denied by Smith. Four minutes later though and the home side had their goal. The ball wasn’t cleared properly and Tony Brown’s effort was deflected into the net. The goal appeared to wake the Stan up slightly and in the 27th minute the scores were level. Blackett broke down the right wing and squared the ball for Robinson to slide home at the back post. Although Stan were back in the game, Alnwick looked the more threatening and twice got in behind the Stan defence before half-time but lacked the clinical edge at the crucial moment.
Half-time saw no changes for the Stan but the magic words of the management made a difference as the players looked much sharper and in the 49th minute, the Stan took the lead. Robinson attacked down the right and crossed in for Blackett whose shot was saved but Sam Walton fired in the rebound. 2-1. The Stan continued to press forward and Robinson nearly added to his tally for the night on 54 minutes, when he was played through by Walton. His poked effort was smothered by the Alnwick keeper though. Blackett was next to have a go at goal on 62 minutes when he battled his way into the box shrugging off defenders but he was unable to get his shot on target. The missed chances appeared to encourage Alnwick back into the game and they should have equalised in the 65th minute when a free header at the back post failed to trouble Smith. Alnwick continued to look for an equaliser and they got just that in the 70th when a free-kick was blocked by Smith and substitute Brad McClelland smashed home the rebound. The joy from the equaliser though was short lived as just 3 minutes later the Stan retook the lead. Ryan Bailey produced a fantastic tackle to win the ball before sending Blackett through who calmly slotted the ball into the back of the net. Both sides continued to press forward as the game drew to a close but it was the Stan who would get the deciding goal when a long ball forward saw Robinson, who missed a similar chance moments earlier, get in behind the defence on 89 minutes and he lifted the ball into the back of the net. With that the Stan secured a fantastic win in a goal-bonanza of a game. The march to the other St James’ Park continues!
Smith; McCabe, Deagle, Wear; Williams, Bailey; Imray; Johnson, Robinson; Blackett (Yates); Walton (Y). Unused sub: Walker