Beauty and the beast for Allotment

THE pantomime season came early for West Allotment Celtic last week as they staged ‘Beauty and the Beast’ within the space of 40 hours.

The ‘beast’ came away to Brandon United on Thursday when a witless performance led to a 5-1 clobbering from a distinctly average outfit.

And the ‘beauty’ came less than two days later when Celtic gave a vastly improved showing and gained deserved revenge on their FA Cup conquerors of just a few weeks ago, Northallerton.

Injuries forced manager Paul Stoneman into making changes for the trip to North Yorkshire, with Chris Rue replaced by Chris Douglas, making his full debut after coming on as a substitute at Guisborough.

Stephen Little was ruled out so, with Glenn Ford still suspended, the manager decided to play new signing Andy Mogwo alongside him in the centre of defence.

The former Newcastle United junior is still only 18 but is an imposing figure and little was to get past him all afternoon.

However, that was true of the defence as a whole, with Douglas putting in a sound shift at right-back and Paul Haxon re-asserting his early season form.

The opening passages were rather pedestrian, with the only brightness coming from Allotment’s ‘lucky’ yellow second strip.

Then Celtic striker Gary Day dragged a shot just wide and a goalbound header from Tony Lancaster was ‘cleared’ by team-mate Roy Gordon.

Allotment went ahead on the half-hour mark. An excellent pass saw Lancaster round the keeper but was forced wide, he cleverly tricked the defender into a lunge that saw the winger tumble to the ground.

It was a clear penalty and Mark Minto stepped up to crack the ball high into the net.

The visitors dominated and Lancaster’s pace and persistence was causing Town problems and Henderson, Dunn and Gordon ably supported him in midfield.

Upfront, Day had his best game so far for Allotment. He was supported by Minto, whose runs from just in front of the midfield kept the home side on their mettle.

The second period saw Allotment maintain control, although the effects of Thursday began to seep through and some tiring limbs almost allowed Town back into the game.

However, Celtic have an excellent keeper in Aiden Ames and he produced two stupendous saves to keep his side ahead.

Full credit to the players and management for dismissing any negative effects of the debacle at Brandon and getting the club back on a winning path.

Allotment: Ames, Douglas, Haxon, Dunn, Stoneman, Mogwo, Henderson, Gordon (Bell), Day (Mills), Minto, Lancaster (Lee). Sub not used: Soulsby.