A SPIRITED comeback from Hexham kept their top six hopes alive in Northern Alliance Division One.

Visitors Longbenton were on the front foot from the first whistle, and used set pieces to their advantage. A lack of concentration from the Hexham defence saw them concede to both a free kick and a corner within the first 20 minutes.

The underwhelming start was out of character for Hexham this season.

Manager Martin Lowes, said: “The start to the game was absolutely terrible. I think most of the players turned up expecting three points. It doesn’t matter who you’re playing in this league - anything can happen.”

However, there were no harsh words from Lowes at half time.

He added: “I didn’t tell them much except from that it wasn’t good enough. After that they were a totally different team.”

Despite a marked improvement in possession and build-up play, it wasn’t until the final 20 minutes when Hexham finally scored. Callum Duncan finished from the penalty spot after Peter McRoberts was pulled back in the box.

Three minutes later and the scores were level, thanks to an outside of the box volley from Robbie Pattison.

Hexham had the wind in their sails and soon added a third after a second cross from Furness was met by McRoberts, who finished from 12 yards.

Substitutions and a change in formation altered Hexham’s attack, and saw them add a fourth through Tom Hacking.

Lowes concluded: “The result still doesn’t reflect the game as a whole but the win was a big relief. The character of the players to come back from two down was what impressed me most.”

The win leaves Hexham in eighth position on 46 points with four games to play in the league.