Wallington 2 Whitley Bay A 1 Bay Plastics Challenge Cup, Semi Finals
AFTER suffering disappointment earlier in the match, Sam Walton signed off with a goal to put Wallington into their third cup final in three seasons.
The Greens went into this crucial semi-final having not played since the 2-2 draw with Carlisle City. The visitors on the other hand were fresh from a 14-3 victory and it was they who started the brightest, with the big number nine causing problems.
Ben Fenwick had to be at his very best to keep him quiet in the penalty area. Meanwhile, a chance fell to John Paxton, but the keeper made a smart save to deny him.
In the10th minute, the hosts registered another attempt at goal – the returning Alex Slack tested the keeper from 20 yards, but was denied by a good save.
Ten minutes later, Whitley Bay A took the lead when a seemingly straightforward backpass was miscued by keeper Matthew Lees straight into the path of a grateful Bay winger. He still had work to do, but he controlled the ball well before finding the net from 30 yards with Lees unable to do anything to prevent the goal.
The Greens looked to hit back straight away and good work down the left-hand side from Jake Walton led to the ball being played into Paxton, who was bundled to the ground by a clumsy challenge.
The referee duly awarded a penalty and up stepped Sam Walton, in his last game before his move to Bedlington Terriers, to take the spot-kick.
But with the script seemingly written, his effort was saved by the legs of the away side’s keeper and the rebound evaded everyone.
Wallington rallied and came back at the Bay time and time again, Jake Walton in particular torturing the left-back, and it was Jake who grabbed the equaliser on 35 minutes when his superb header nestled into the back of the net following a great cross from Jordan Nellis.
The half-time whistle arrived with the home side on top of a frenetic first half in which both teams lost a centre-forward to injury.
During the second half it was Whitley Bay A that piled on most of the pressure, but they couldn’t convert pressure into real chances.
The Greens’ back three of Trevor Baston, Justin Millican and Fenwick withstood all that the visitors could muster and when called upon, Lees was bright and alert.
This coupled with the excellent work rate of Chris Moffitt and Glenn Reardon – against his former side – meant Wallington were always a threat on the break. Reardon was replaced by Josh Gilmartin to add some fresh legs late on in the match.
With 15 minutes remaining, they made the decisive breakthrough with who else but Sam Walton getting on the end of Jake Walton’s deep cross.
A first-time ball whipped viciously into the box looked for all the world like it was going to arrive in the path of Dan Thompson, who appeared to be hauled back by the Bay defender.
But with most of Scots Gap appealing to the referee for a second penalty, Sam Walton bundled the ball into the net from close range. Not for the first time this season, the celebrations from the home team were as memorable as the goal.
The away side responded well and had spells of attacking pressure, but they were mostly in the form of high hopeful balls which were well dealt with by the Greens’ back line.
Indeed it was the hosts that had further chances to seal the victory. Nellis almost put the icing on the cake with a fine run, beating two defenders out wide, before deftly chipping the keeper only to see the ball ricochet off the crossbar.
Wallington were denied what looked a stonewall penalty in injury time when Slack found himself bearing down on the Whitley Bay A goalkeeper and appeared to be brought down by the left-back in the box.
The referee waved play on, but fortunately it did not matter as the home side saw out the remainder of the game.