A sensational last minute strike from substitute Kyle Austin sealed a fantastic comeback for Willington Quay Saints who came from 2-0 down to hit three goals in the last 15 minutes to grab their first away win in the league this season.
Saints made three changes from the previous Saturday’s defeat at Alnwick.
With Hutchinson, Turner and Breheny unavailable, manager Pete Donkin brought in Carl Henderson, Grant Starling and Liam Taylor into an attacking looking line-up.
From the opening whistle Quay were on the front foot with the attacking midfield trio of Liam Taylor, Ryan Ferrier and Kane Chirnside causing all sorts of trouble for the Longbenton defence, whose keeper and centre half were lucky to escape cards in the first five minutes after two fouls on the pacy Chirnside when he was clear on goal.
Chirnside then had two guilt-edged chances to opening the scoring for the visitors, firstly having his attempted chip saved by the keeper and then being denied by the post after sliding the ball past the helpless stopper, who recovered to gather the rebound.
More chances came and went as Ferrier fired well wide with his left foot from 12 yards after a great through ball from Taylor, and Matty Adams headed wide from a free kick as Saints piled on the pressure.
Longbenton showed that they could also create chances as a long ball over the top found striker Anth Brown, whose first touch was brilliant but his second was less so as he tamely fired wide with Carl Henderson racing towards him.
With time running out in the first half Quay went close again as Starling’s left wing cross was met by the boot of top scorer Glen Johnson, but his sliding volley trickled past the keeper and agonisingly wide of the post as Saints somehow failed to score in a dominant first half.
On the stroke of half-time Longbenton twice nearly stole the lead as their right winger was denied by Carl Henderson as he diverted his shot wide with his feet, and then when Mark Henderson dallied on the ball and it allowed a shot from Longbenton’s Short to fly just passed the post.
Quay’s failure to score when they were on top came back to haunt them early in the second as a mix up between Starling and keeper Henderson resulted in Longbenton forward Chris Sword having the easy task of sliding the ball into an empty net to give the hosts an undeserved lead.
Ben Senior was brought on for the injured Chirnside but before he had touched the ball Saints were two down as Sword grabbed his second as he reacted first to a fine save from Henderson to tap home and double the lead for Longbenton.
Stunned Saints tried to respond but found chances hard to come by, their only opening being blocked by the hand of a sliding defender, the resulting free kick was floated over the bar by Starling as time ticked by on the hopes of salvaging something from the game.
With 15 minutes left the comeback was on, A ball over the top saw Ryan Ferrier beat the offside trap, gather his composure and pull the ball back to Ben Senior who coolly slotted into the corner for his first ever Saints goal.
Donkin sent on Austin as a makeshift forward with Adams coming off as Saints threw caution to the wind looking for an equaliser, and they nearly had it as Stu Duffield’s quality cross caused panic in the Longbenton defence, and when Senior somehow hooked the ball back into the area the home side cleared.
Longbenton counter attacked and nearly grabbed a crucial third and decisive goal but were thwarted by great saving tackles from Duffield and Clynch as Quay poured men forward leaving spaces at the back.
Five minutes later the equaliser arrived. Taylor, having his best game of the season, played a perfect through ball to Ferrier who once again beat the offside trap and he kept his nerve to slide the ball past the keeper and into the net to draw the sides level with eight minutes remaining.
The home side were then reduced to ten men as a moment of madness from one of their midfielders saw him red carded for swearing at the referee after a throw-in was awarded to Quay.
With not a lot of time to make the extra man count it looked destined to end all square, but with 30 seconds left super sub Austin ran onto a loose clearance and smashed an unstoppable shot into the top corner from 25 yards out to complete the comeback as Saints’ support celebrated wildly.
Longbenton had little time to respond but they nearly did as their right winger’s front post cross was just turned behind by the sliding Dale Johnson, and when the corner came to nothing the whistle went to confirm a famous comeback win.
Saints should have been out of sight at half-time then looked dead and buried with 15 minutes left only to come back and win, never a dull moment following Willington Quay Saints.
Willington Quay Saints: C Henderson, S Duffield, Starling, Clynch, D Johnson, Adams (K Austin 80), M Henderson, Taylor, Ferrier, Chirnside (Senior 51), G Johnson.