Shankhouse 0 Wallington 1 Northern Alliance Newcastle Building Society Premier Division
Wallington made it five games unbeaten with a confident and assured performance at Shankhouse on Saturday.
Chris Moffitt’s second goal of the season was enough to separate the sides, although it could have been more as the buoyant Greens turned out another impressive performance.
Dan Thompson, Matty Blackith, Kyle Reardon and John Paxton all had opportunities to add gloss to the scoreline but their finishing was the only red mark on Davey Featherstone’s match notes.
At the back, a third clean sheet in five and first in the league this season gave further evidence of the evolution of this new-look Wallington side who have significantly turned a corner since the autumn leaves began to fall.
James Loughborough was the only change from last weekend as he replaced absent captain Alex Slack and he almost capped his second start with an early goal, but his drive from 20 yards was parried away by the goalkeeper.
Shankhouse’s Number 8 was proving to be the only real source of worry for Wallington with his direct running and this led to the home side’s best chance of the half.
He won a free-kick 25 yards out that Rob Hodgson managed to smother before Nick McClughin cleared away.
The Greens were playing more like the home side, dominating possession while Shankhouse were happy to soak up the pressure and hit on the counter-attack. In the second half this changed when Wallington upped their tempo, thus denying any space for the home side to break.
The ball found residence in the Shankhouse half for the first 20 minutes as wave upon wave of Green attacks swarmed upon the home goal.
Thompson and Blackith both saw shots go wide before the decisive breakthrough arrived just after the hour mark.
In a hint of déjà vu from the team’s winner at Newcastle Chemfica a month ago, Josh Gilmartin’s in-swinging free-kick was glanced home by Moffitt for a deserved lead.
The midfielder then managed to ruin his crucial goal by a tragic flop to the floor which was later revealed as a wretched attempt at replicating the Klinsmann dive.
It should have been two shortly after when the high tempo forced a mistake and Thompson found himself clean through on goal. His effort was blocked by the goalkeeper. Reardon’s effort whistled by the post following the strikers lay off.
Shankhouse weren’t out of the contest but some stout defending and some excellent positional play from Hodgson kept the clean sheet intact.
Wallington still found time for one last chance through substitute Paxton who was a whisker away from converting Reardon’s low cross into his 10th goal of the season.
Despite the win, the Greens dropped a place in the league to seventh, courtesy of Seaton Delaval’s 4-1 win over Northbank Carlisle, but the points tally is certainly looking a lot healthier before the next league game in a fortnight versus the high-flying unbeaten leaders, Blyth Town.
On Saturday, Wallington are at Bedlington Terriers Reserves, attempting to reach the League Cup Quarter Finals.