Seaton Delaval Amateurs 1 Wallington 2 Northern Alliance, Premier Division
A LATE goal, finally in Wallington’s favour, secured a terrific comeback at Seaton Delaval on Saturday afternoon.
Trailing 1-0 at the break The Greens fought back valiantly and got their just rewards for a relentless assault on the Delaval goal when Sam Walton rounded the keeper and slotted home the winner in injury-time.
It took a good 20 minutes for the away side to settle on the lush playing surface at Wheatridge Park as the hosts started brightly. Both full-backs were flying forward at every opportunity and the three centre-halves had to be on their toes to thwart Delaval’s lively forwards.
Equally, Matty Lees had to have his wits about him with the strikers keen to pounce upon any loose balls.
The Greens’ best moments arrived sporadically, with the final pass constantly proving to be the Achilles heel. Walton and Jordan Nellis were combining well, but each time the wrong option was chosen and the home side were able to clear.
The best piece of football of the half delivered the only goal of the half when one of Delaval’s marauding full-backs collected a throughball and rifled an unstoppable drive past Lees into the corner.
Wallington tried to respond quickly with some good football of their own, Alex Slack couldn’t find a Green shirt when well-placed and Sam Walton then fired over as the home side deservedly led at the break.
The second half was a different story and from the referee’s first whistle, The Greens turned up the tempo.
Dan Thompson replaced Adam Whitehead and his injection of energy spurred new life into Steva Cowan’s men.
The withdrawal of the Delaval captain after ten minutes due to injury also played its part as it forced a reshuffle to a 3-5-2 formation. This in turn afforded more space down the flanks for the away side that Nellis and Thompson exploited endlessly.
For a long time though, the late jubilation seemed a fading fantasy as, time after time, last-ditch challenges, wayward shooting and agonising deflections were keeping the score intact.
Only Nellis’ attempt shortly after the break had given the Delaval keeper anything to do, which he saved smartly with his feet.
The pressure was persistent and it finally picked the Delaval lock when another wicked Nellis corner was touched home by his strike partner who got in front of his marker. It was Thompson’s second of the season and set up a grand stand finale as both sides sniffed a winner.
After offering little or no attacking threat since half-time, the home side almost caught Wallington cold after the equaliser when a whipped cross from the left evaded everyone.
With the goal at his mercy though, the incoming winger could only divert the ball back into Lees’ grateful arms.
Then came the late drama. Tracking back and intercepting a Delaval attack, Jake Walton played a swift ball up the line to Nellis who at the second attempt switched the ball across goal where Sam Walton had been left unattended.
Taking a more measured approach to the previous 90 minutes, the midfielder danced inside the box, then past the goalkeeper before calmly slotting past a defender on the line to spark mass hysteria on the Wallington bench and secure a deserved three points.