Celtic’s Reid wreaks havoc against the Ancients

West Allotment Celtic's four-goal hero Sean Reid chases down a Norton and Stockton Ancients player during his side's 5-0 win. Picture by Graeme Jackson
West Allotment Celtic's four-goal hero Sean Reid chases down a Norton and Stockton Ancients player during his side's 5-0 win. Picture by Graeme Jackson
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Sean Reid continued his imperious form in West Allotment colours, firing in four of Celtic’s five goals at home to Norton & Stockton Ancients on Saturday afternoon.

Two inch-perfect free-kicks, either side of a well-timed finish from within the box, completed a first-half hat-trick for the unstoppable playmaker.

And, after Michael Bell guided home from close range early in the second half, Reid helped himself to a fourth, completing a comprehensive rout of a team firmly planted in the top half of the division.

The previous encounter at Norton had gone right to the wire, with that man Reid salvaging a point for Allotment on the night, but neither side looked likely to trouble the scoresheet in a scrappy opening period.

Both teams looked dangerous in the air, Marcus Laing nodding over for the visitors, whilst Paul Stoneman failed to trouble David Knight with a looping header from 15 yards out.

Reid almost took advantage of the goalkeeper’s poor defensive clearance, instead skewing wide of the target, but the 21-year-old would soon open the floodgates with a trademark free-kick.

A full 30 yards from goal, Reid took aim, bending the ball into the top corner via the underside of the crossbar.

Within two minutes, the former Barnsley trainee doubled Allotment’s lead, converting another set-piece in rather different fashion. Chris Douglas’ pinpoint delivery from around the halfway line sailed over the heads of the back four and found the run of Reid, who slid in to nudge the ball beyond Knight.

Substitute Richard Gaston came closest to reducing arrears for Norton, only for a timely Stoneman challenge to deflect the ball around the post, but another sensational set-piece from Reid completed his hat-trick, and all-but wrapped up the win before half-time.

From a similar position to his first free-kick, Allotment’s top scorer chose to curl the ball into the other corner, his accurate strike having too much on it for Knight to keep out.

Three goals to the good at half-time, Celtic showed no signs of laying up after the restart, and another in-form midfielder got in on the act.

After David Dormand’s dipping effort was nodded away from the line, Michael Bell followed up, scoring his fifth goal in seven games with a guided close-range finish.

Allotment were in full flow, with Reid in particular unplayable on the day, and he arguably grabbed the pick of the goals one minute later against the demoralised Ancients.

Latching onto Bell’s lofted pass down the right, the hat-trick hero burst inside, and, with no less than three defenders closing in, flicked the ball into the far corner with the outside of his boot – his 27th goal from 26 games, rounding out a tremendous performance from the former Ryton man.

With the contest well and truly won, Celtic introduced Tony Lancaster, Dean Lee, and ‘A’ team debutant Matt Slater for some much-needed game time, whilst Norton attempted to salvage some pride for the trip back down the A19.

Rocky Andrews lashed a shot wide after Ryan Beal had spilled a deep ball into the box, but the keeper atoned for his error with a fine block, denying Gary Mitchell a consolation from close range.

Nicholas Martin planted a free header well wide of goal late on, but Celtic capped off the dominant win with a deserved clean sheet.

The five-star victory sees Allotment consolidate second place in the division, ensuring that the side enters 2014 as strong candidates for promotion.