Wallington 3 Morpeth Sporting Club 2 Northern Alliance, Division One
THE Greens picked up another important three points on Saturday as they made hard work of Morpeth Sporting Club in a local derby.
In the sweltering heat, Wallington were twice ahead through Jordan Nellis strikes only to be pegged back before Kyle Reardon tucked away a late winner that meant the team have taken six points from Morpeth this season.
With John Paxton returning to work, Josh Gilmartin was introduced on the right hand side while Al Sorrie returned to take back his place alongside Tom Macpherson in the heart of the Scot’s Gap defence.
After a run of five consecutive away games, the Oakford Park pitch was glad to see a return to action but the hard dry ground meant that passing along the floor was a much more testing skill than normal.
In the first half though Wallington did their best to mix up the grounded balls with some lofted ones as they tried to utilise the pace of Nellis and Southern up front.
Whether the heat had affected the two lads’ concentration was unclear, but for a whole afternoon it would be very unlikely if the residents of Scot’s Gap have ever seen two players offside more.
On the rare occasion that one of them did break the ‘trap’ they caused massive problems for the Morpeth backline.
Southern had a good run but shot just wide before Nellis had a similar one that he was unable to find Reardon with.
Reardon then also had a run himself but was unable to get a shot off after finding the ball caught under his feet.
At the back the home side were giving very little away with Chris Straker impressively claiming most aerial balls to alleviate any potential danger.
The marauding ‘Blonde Stallion’ was a sight seen often in the opening few games of the season when Sorrie played at full back but since his revert to his more comfortable position of centre half, a gallop up the field has been an almost non-runner.
Coincidentally then on Grand National Day, the outside bet for first goalscorer nearly broke the deadlock after a strong run that saw him hurdle a couple of obstacles. With just one fence left to clear Sorrie was stopped in his tracks by the visiting captain who brought an end to the Stallion’s valiant dash.
Sam Walton had been a threat all afternoon with his trickery and pace and after instructions were given to the team at half time to use him more, he duly delivered 15 minutes into the second half.
After receiving the ball from Slack at left full back Walton drove at the Morpeth defence. Not knowing whether to stick or twist the defender continued to back off which gave the winger time to pick out an inch perfect square ball to Nellis inside the area.
He took one touch and buried the ball into corner with his left foot.
For about ten minutes following this goal it became clear that Morpeth were one goal away from capitulating so it was to the neutrals’ relief that they were handed an unlikely lifeline from a familiar source.
Just like the previous Saturday at Newcastle Uni, the imperious Macpherson who had given nothing away all afternoon was caught one on one after the centre midfield had failed to deal with a bouncing ball.
While Macpherson initially appeared to be shepherding the forward away from goal he decided to go for the full blooded tackle which took all of the ball as well as all of the striker – leaving referee Scoffham with only one option.
The away sides’ player manager converted the penalty to bring the tie level.
Not to be disheartened, Wallington picked themselves up and soon after found their lead restored with a goal smelling suspiciously of the first.
This time Walton picked the ball on the halfway line and good work by forward players gave Nellis another decent opportunity.
The striker had sniffed the chance before the defender and goalkeeper and just managed to prod it home via the goalkeeper’s outstretched hand, who could only watch as it looped into the goal.
This time though the home side’s advantage was even shorter than before as Morpeth hit back almost instantaneously.
Good link up play between the left winger and forward ended up with the former entering the box at pace before his shot back across goal arrowed into the corner of the net.
Once again Wallington had to rally against an opponent that was visually growing in confidence. In the end though The Greens’ superiority finally told as with 15 minutes remaining they got the winning goal that just edged them past the winning post thanks to a helping hand from the goal post.
Walton again was involved, this time popping up on the right. After an exchange of passes with Baston the youngest threw in a dangerous whipped cross that had the Morpeth goalkeeper scrambling.
The stopper to his credit managed to tip the ball onto the post only for him to see it land at the feet of Reardon ten yards out, who drilled it back under his legs for Wallington’s third of the afternoon.
The late introduction of Mark Jewitt and Jake Walton added some much needed freshness in the final ten minutes as the climate finally began to take its toll on the afternoon.
In the final few seconds Walton Jnr nearly bagged his first of the season when he met his brother’s cross sweetly, only to see it tipped away.
This was another important win for Wallington, who keep their faint dreams of a top six finish alive.