Reid inspires West Allotment to win against Ashington

Kallum McGlen celebrating West Allotment's first goal. Picture by Graeme Jackson.
Kallum McGlen celebrating West Allotment's first goal. Picture by Graeme Jackson.

Sean Reid took centre stage as West Allotment Celtic picked up their first home win of their Northern League division one campaign.

An improved second half performance saw off Ashington at Whitley Park on Saturday.

Restored to his regular role behind the forward after a spell at centre-half, 22-year-old Reid was not the only star of the show, with Kallum McGlen also looking lively on the left flank.

The first opportunity of the half fell to the young winger, courtesy of counterpart Michael Bell.

His arrowed cross-field pass sailed over the back four and into the path of McGlen, but former Blyth Spartans keeper Connor Grant had little problem in saving his tame effort.

Former Allotment forward Glen Taylor was looking to make a goalscoring return to Blue Flames, and was almost presented with the chance to do so in the first 15 minutes.

The hosts failed to adequately clear their lines, with the ball dropping kindly for the Colliers centre forward. The ensuing snapshot was goalbound, requiring Michael Hall to make a decisive deflection to take it wide.

Taylor was not the only threat in ex-Allotment manager Gary Middleton’s starting line-up. Andrew Johnson has a talismanic presence within the side, their form undoubtedly improving upon his return.

He was nevertheless kept relatively quiet on the left wing by John Pendlebury, though he did see an early spot kick appeal waved away when the full back muscled him off the ball inside the area.

Allotment had penalty cries of their own turned down five minutes later when Bell went down under pressure, but once again the officials were unmoved.

Neither side gained the upper hand in a half often lacking in quality, though Allotment were working hard to suppress a potentially dangerous attack at every turn.

Marc Dummett had to make a tremendous sliding challenge to keep Lance McGlen from bearing down on goal, and Richie Slaughter was denied a similar opportunity by the timely intervention of David Henderson.

When the visitors did get a sight of goal, they found Ryan Beal in fine form, the stopper racing out to make a top block when a Johnson finish seemed inevitable.

Having already turned down a penalty shout at either end, Premier League linesman Mick McDonough gave the same treatment to a third - though it was undoubtedly the most contested of them all.

Reid just beat the centre half to the high ball, taking a high boot to the face in the process. Despite the infringement, McDonough signalled for play to continue, to the disbelief of players and supporters alike.

Allotment have been susceptible to conceding in the 15 minutes following the interval, and that was almost true again on Saturday afternoon.

Within moments of the restart, Johnson was sent sprinting clear down the left hand side, but incredibly sent his one-on-one flying over the crossbar.

The dangerman’s next shot was on target, cutting in from the byline and forcing Beal into another fine save.

Having ridden the early pressure, Allotment asserted themselves with greater authority, and deservedly went ahead just after the hour mark.

Bell did well to spray the ball out to Reid on the left, and the mercurial talent slipped a perfect through ball down the flank for McGlen, who utilised his electric pace to break clear of his namesake. There was still plenty to do from a narrow angle, but McGlen emulated his finish against Birtley Town last season to dink the ball over the on-rushing Grant and into the far corner - scoring his second ever goal for the club in style.

Reid almost doubled the lead from a set-piece, curling marginally high and wide from the edge of the area.

But he would not be denied in open play. Provider and scorer reversed roles, McGlen knocking the ball inside to the hard-running playmaker. He surged past his marker towards the edge of the box, unleashing a fierce drive from 20 yards into the top corner to give Allotment a welcome buffer heading into the final 20 minutes.

The Colliers pushed players forward in search of a route back into the match, but Allotment’s back four, protected at all times by workhorse Ian Dunn in front, held out with relative comfort.

Tony Stephenson almost reduced arrears with a shot that whistled over the bar, and Pendlebury had to produce another block to keep a frustrated Johnson out.

But it could even have been three for the hosts when substitute Dean Lee cut in from the left. Fellow introduction Liam Hudson was well-placed for an easy finish, but the wide man opted against the simple square ball, delaying his shot and ultimately spurning the opportunity.

It would have been the icing on the cake for Allotment, who would savour the victory – and the clean sheet – nonetheless.

The three points sees the club climb out of the bottom three, leapfrogging Newton Aycliffe.

Paul Stoneman’s charges will be looking to make it two home wins in two when they entertain local rivals Dunston UTS on Wednesday evening.