Willington Quay Saints won their third game in a row with victory over Northern Alliance second division basement side Wideopen.
A Ryan Ferrier strike and another double from Andy Breheny were enough to see off a spirited showing from the struggling home outfit.
Liam Taylor replaced Micky Young in Saints’ only change from the previous week’s win over West Allotment Reserves whilst there was a welcome return to the squad for Micky Austin, who had been out since early September with a groin injury.
Wideopen, spurred on by only their second win of the season last week, were first out of the blocks in the early stages and they won five corners in the first five minutes, each one causing Quay trouble as keeper Carl Henderson and his defence just about coped with the set pieces in the windy conditions.
Saints were caught offside numerous times in the opening stages and when Breheny finally beat the offside trap his cross from the left was glanced away by the Wideopen centre half just as it seemed it Glen Johnson was about to head the ball home.
Any worries Quay had about their start were forgotten on 20 minutes as they took the lead through Ferrier’s third goal of the season.
Receiving the ball on the left wing he swung in a curling right footed cross that evaded everybody including the keeper to nestle in the corner for the opening goal.
Wideopen did not lose heart and with the next attack should have equalised as a long ball over the top found striker Mitchell Ramsey clean through but Henderson saved the quick forward’s shot brilliantly with his right foot, deflecting the ball inches wide of the post.
Quay doubled their advantage on 28 minutes but only after heroics from Wideopen keeper Callum Hayes.
Saints were awarded a free kick 25 yards out which skipper Mark Henderson curled powerfully around the wall but with the ball destined for the corner Hayes produced a stunning one handed save to deny him, unluckily for the keeper the rebound fell to Stephen King who squared the ball to Breheny to head in from two yards.
Once again after scoring Saints switched off and this time Wideopen did not waste their chance as Ramsey was allowed space to twist and turn before firing a powerful strike past Henderson to half the deficit, the first goal Quay had conceded in nearly four hours of football.
In a frantic ending to the half Breheny should have reinstated the two-goal cushion but he somehow fired over from just four yards out with the empty goal at his mercy after Glen Johnson had sent over a perfect cross that left the defenders and keeper stranded.
The second half was much slower than the first as the muddy pitch seemed to wear both sets of players down, and it was not until the hour mark that the first chance appeared as Breheny ran onto Johnson’s pass but was denied by the feet of Hayes before the Wideopen defence cleared the rebound.
Gary Latimer came on for Liam Taylor on 65 minutes and his first involvement led to Saints wrapping up the points through Brehenys second goal of the game.
A long ball over the Wideopen defence saw Latimer through on goal but Hayes saved his toe poked effort low down only for the ball to land at the feet off Breheny who slid it into the empty net from 18 yards for his eighth goal of the season.
Wideopen threw bodies forward to try and salvage something from the game, and when a free kick was cleared to the edge of the box, substitute Stephen Dodds’ powerful strike was bravely blocked by Saints defender Dale Johnson.
Ben Senior and Anthony Bruce were introduced late on for Glen Johnson and Ferrier, and Senior nearly grabbed a fourth as he brilliantly turned his marker before shooting straight at Hayes with his left foot in what proved to be the last action of the game.
Without being at their best Saints did more than enough to deserve victory as they recovered from a sloppy start to control the second half and ease to a third league win on the spin.
They will hope to make it four out of four at home to Forest Hall on Saturday.
Willington Quay Saints: C Henderson, Duffield, Macbeth, K Austin, M Henderson, D Johnson, King, Ferrier (Senior 82), Taylor (Latimer 65), G Johnson (Bruce 82), Breheny.