Willington Quay Saints made it three wins in a row after grinding out a victory over struggling Blyth FC as three late goals finally ended the the home side’s hopes of snatching something from the game.
Saints made one change from their 2-1 win at Whitburn as the injured Matty Adams was replaced by Gareth Pugh up front. Peter Lowery continued in goal after impressing while deputising for the injured Carl Henderson.
The game started in blustery conditions and shooting with the wind first half Saints were looking to make the most of the advantage with Andy Breheny in his 100th appearance for the club bringing a good save out of the Blyth keeper early on.
Last time the sides met, Phil Doolan opened the scoring and it was to be the same this time, and in some style. A long ball brought the Blyth keeper out of his area to clear but only as far as left-back Doolan, who smashed the ball into the empty net from 35 yards out to give Quay the lead in spectacular fashion.
Blyth, who had not scored in their last four games, should have levelled on the half hour as a cross into the box was not properly cleared and the ball fell to Stuart Gray who blazed over from 12 yards under no pressure.
Shooting against the wind in the second half, Saints kept the ball on the floor much more, which resulted in them creating more openings than they did first half, Mark Henderson spurning the best of the chances as he headed against the bar from close range.
Pugh was denied by a brave save from the Blyth keeper who scrambled off his line to block the striker’s effort, while Joe Connors’ lob sailed just wide of the goal as Quay searched for the killer second goal.
Karl Charlton and Jack Wearmouth came on for Breheny and Chris Nelson, while there was a welcome return to the side for veteran striker Glen Johnson, who returned after two years away to replace Pugh up top.
Blyth were still in the game at 1-0 and there were a few nervy moments as they looked for an equaliser, but Saints’ defence, led by man of the match Noel Clynch, held firm, leaving Lowery in goal with little to do.
With ten minutes remaining Quay finally doubled their lead. Connor was played through but denied by another good save from the Blyth keeper, but the rebound fell kindly to Ross Thirlaway who fired it in off the post for his 15th goal of the season.
Saints added two more late goals to give the scoreline a flattering look as first Thirlaway ran onto Henderson’s pass to round the keeper and score, and then Charlton grabbed his first ever goal for the club, hitting an absolute rocket of a strike from 30 yards that went in off the bar, leaving the keeper helpless. A wonder strike that was shortly followed by the full time whistle.
A scrappy game but another good win for Quay, who are now unbeaten in six games, one away from the club record in the Northern Alliance.
Blyth FC were much improved from earlier in the season and deserve great credit for hosting the game and also providing food afterwards, which was greatly appreciated by all at Saints.
Willington Quay Saints: Lowery, M Austin, Doolan, Clynch, Nelson (Wearmouth), King, Breheny (Charlton), Connor, Thirlaway, Pugh (G Johnson).
Willington play Spittal Rovers at home on Saturday, kick-off 2pm.