Best of the year from Willington Quay Saints goes unrewarded
Willington Quay Saints were beaten by a single Michael Old strike for Wideopen after one of their best performance of the new year went unrewarded with a mixture of bad luck and excellence from the home goalkeeper denying them anything from a tight game.
Anth Lawson replaced the injured Carl Henderson in the Saints goal while Ross Thirlaway and Callum Chirnside were recalled to the starting line-up with Matty Adams and Scott Ramsay unavailable, and Jack Dixon came in for Micky Austin in the last of four changes from the previous week’s defeat at home to Hazelrigg.
Andy Breheny had the game’s first chance as he swivelled to fire a looping shot that was palmed round the post by Wideopen’s keeper Ross Fellows as Quay made a positive start against the strong wind.
Wideopen were then denied by a great save by Lawson as striker Sean Hay ran onto a long ball that caught out the Saints backline only to fire into the legs of Lawson, who stood up well to deny him.
Both sides appealed for penalties as Breheny went down in the Wideopen area and then Saints’ Noel Clynch looked to have brought down Wideopen’s winger in the area, but both appeals were waved away by the referee.
Wideopen went into the lead on the stroke of half-time as midfielder Old turned on the ball 20 yards out before firing a stinging strike into the bottom left hand corner with Lawson at full stretch and desperately close to keeping the ball out.
Playing with the wind in the second half, Saints were more of a threat, and a series of quality crosses from Clynch saw panic in the home penalty area but there were no takers in attack.
Keeper Lawson was taken off injured with 25 minutes remaining after suffering a head injury saving at the feet of Wideopen forward Nick Moore.
He was replaced by Phil Doolan, who nearly created an equaliser minutes after coming on as his long goal kick evaded the Wideopen defence leaving Mark Henderson clean through, and when he flicked the ball past the home keeper it looked like 1-1, but he was cruelly denied by the post with the ball bouncing safely into the keeper’s hands.
The Wideopen stopper then produced one of the saves of the season as he somehow kept out an Breheny header when he seemed to be wrong footed, brilliantly tipping the ball wide with one hand, bringing applause from both sets of management and supporters.
Pushing forward for an equaliser left plenty of space for Wideopen and they should have sealed the win when sub Ross Dickinson went through down the left only to fire over from 12 yards.
Quay piled men forward in the dying stages but could not find a breakthrough with Old’s strike proving the difference between the sides.
A harsh defeat for Saints after a much better performance, lady luck and an inspired keeper the difference on a frustrating day for the visitors.