TWELVE months on after missing out on promotion by three points, Wallington FC have stormed to the league title, writes Kyle Reardon.
A winning concoction of youthful exuberance and invaluable experience intertwined with local identity, as all players hail from in or around the Morpeth area, the team have had a hugely-successful campaign which has led to the reward of Premier Division football from August.
The results may look like plain sailing at times but the campaign, which also included a cup final, has been a long and arduous one and would have reaped no rewards without the dedication and hard-work of the squad amidst the invariably unfavourable British weather.
Player/Coach Nick McClughin has been responsible for training the team and keeping them motivated even when matches were being called off in August for the first time in living memory. Only two fixtures were fulfilled between the end of November and the February 1 and by April 3, a total of 16 fixtures were left to play.
Thankfully though the feeling of winning overwhelmed the cramp and fatigue as the Greens, who play at Scot’s Gap, finally claimed their prize with a game to spare.
After a poor opening day performance, Wallington went on an 11-game winning run that would take them to the top of the division. A scintillating second half performance against main league rivals Red House Farm would prove crucial at the end of September while a last minute John Paxton volley, after being 0-2 down, completed an amazing comeback in November.
With so many games and a squad of around 20 hungry players to keep off his back, manager Steva Cowan rapidly became christened ‘The Tinkerman’. In order to keep the starting line-up fresh his constant chopping and changing became a feature in the final months, but to the team’s credit whatever personnel he chose the Green juggernaut continued to churn out results.
Despite a couple of defeats near the end of the season, they got the silverware they deserved after an excellent 8-0 win against the league’s basement side.
The club is hosting its end-of-season presentation night on June 14 at the Riverside Lodge in High Stanners. For more information, including ticket details, call 07798 610166 or email firstname.lastname@example.org