Wallington 4 Percy Main 0 Northern Alliance, Premier Division
THE Greens crashed the Premier Division party with a devastating win on the opening day of the new season, writes Kyle Reardon.
On a clear day at Scots Gap, the newly promoted Division One champions ran out clear winners over Percy Main which took them, for the time being, joint top of the table.
Birthday boy Josh Gilmartin got the cake started with a clever finish before a delicious Jordan Nellis brace added the icing – with Sam Walton’s 25-yard thunderbolt adding the perfect cherry on top.
The final trio of pre-season matches had bore disappointing results for The Greens, but they showed no signs of caution as they flew out of the blocks against a young and exuberant opposition.
Within 90 seconds Nellis almost introduced himself in the grandest manner when his looping volley just sailed over the crossbar.
Soon afterwards, he was presented with another chance when a poor clearance fell to Gilmartin who instantly played his strike partner through, only to be let down by his first touch.
Main were comfortable on the ball in the home side’s half and were always looking for the decisive pass in behind or over the top. Their best chance in the first half though came from a corner, which was cleared off the goal line by Kyle Reardon.
He was then involved at the other end in the opening goal. Found by captain Alex Slack, the midfielder hit the by-line before pulling back a cross and Gilmartin’s experienced years got him ahead of the defender to poke the ball under the keeper.
Within minutes it was almost two when Reardon caught a stray ball on the half volley, only to see it whistle narrowly past the post.
The game had been very even before Gilmartin’s strike but the home side were now well on top and deservedly doubled their lead just after the half hour.
A cleared corner returned to Slack, whose lofted ball from the right found Ben Fenwick lurking at the back post. While the Main backline screamed for offside Fenwick calmly knocked the ball down for Nellis who swept the ball home for 2-0.
The top marksmen in Division One last year had demonstrated that the step up would not halt his goalscoring ability and he grabbed his second of the afternoon shortly after the break.
He nodded in from six yards out following a sweeping move that started on the right hand side and ended with Slack chasing down a throughball to the by-line where his clever cross was nodded on by Gilmartin into his strike partner’s path.
The despondent opposition to their credit stuck to their guns and continued to pass the ball neatly in search of an opening, but Justin Millican, Trevor Baston and Fenwick kept the door to Lees’ goal padlocked shut.
With 15 minutes remaining, manager Cowan utilised his squad with a triple substitution and two of them combined to set up Walton for the spectacular finale.
Terrific hold up play from Adam Whitehead on his home debut and a delicate flick from fellow debutant, 16-year-old Ben Turnbull, found Walton in acres of space about 25 yards from goal.
After one touch to set himself the midfielder unleashed what has now become one of his trademark party pieces – a ferocious drive that flies into the top corner leaving the keeper rooted to the spot – to make the final score 4-0.