West Allotment Celtic’s David Dormand was top dog at the Dr Pit Welfare Park on Saturday afternoon as he scored all four of the visitors’ goals in a 4-2 victory over Bedlington Terriers.
The hosts, seventh at the start of the day, started the brighter of the two sides, Sam Walton firing off target in the opening period.
They duly took the lead on the 11th minute, Lee Scott smashing the ball into the top corner beyond Ryan Beal from a full 25 yards.
However, Allotment drew level within five minutes, courtesy of the courted centre-forward.
In Sean Reid’s absence, David Henderson fulfilled the role of Celtic’s main playmaker and it was pass that set up Dormand, who placed beyond ex-Allotment stopper Daniel Staples to level the scores.
To their credit, Allotment never allowed Ian Skinner’s men the opportunity to find their rhythm, slowly gaining the upper hand in the middle of the park, in no small part thanks to the tireless work of Henderson, Ian Dunn and the selfless Mark Fenwick.
Harmless attempts from Adam Harvey and Liam Davison were the best they could muster in fast darkening conditions, but an error at the other end would prove to be their undoing on 34 minutes.
A wayward backpass inadvertently played Dormand in on goal and the former Morpeth Town hitman shrugged off the desperate attentions of former team-mate Stephen Little before rounding the keeper. His shot from a narrowing angle had too much on it for covering defender Paul Dunn, his best efforts not enough to keep out the number nine.
Another mistake, though not unforced, almost saw the Terriers restore parity just before the break. Ryan Beal’s attempted clearance under pressure was charged down by Scott, but the striker could not remain upright to tuck it away. The ball remained dangerously loose in the box, and though the fallen forward scrambled to his feet, the resulting shot was cleared from harm by assured stand-in centre half John Pendlebury.
Strike partner Stephen Young tested Beal with a low strike that took a deflection en route to goal, but Allotment retained their slender lead heading into half-time.
When play resumed, Walton’s shooting was once again found wanting, smashing another effort well wide of Beal’s goal.
Celtic rarely looked to be troubled by Bedlington’s attacks, the rejigged back four as solid as it has been all season.
That comfort was borne out on the scoreboard eight minutes into the second period, Dormand completing his hat-trick in typically dogged fashion.
Much like Scott in the first half, the 27-year-old got his body in the way of a clearance from the Terriers custodian. This time, it was Staples who could only look on in horror as the ball ricocheted off the forward and looped back towards goal where Dormand kept his composure, coolly nodding into an empty net from the narrowest of angles.
Tony Lancaster marked his return to the team with another fine performance, the right back shooting wide and seeing another saved either side of Dormand’s third.
Skinner rolled the dice just after the hour, introducing three fresh faces as the hosts endeavoured to find a way back into the match.
Two of them could have made the desired impact. First, ex-Newcastle United trainee Ryan McCorrigan fired well wide, before fellow sub Keelan Nellis failed to scramble in a leveller from a corner kick.
The latter headed wide from another set-piece, but the Terriers found an in-form Allotment unwilling to relent.
The desperate pressure exerted under the floodlights allowed the visitors to counter on the break. The warning signs were there when Liam Hudson surged forward, denied only by a fine block from Staples, but the fourth came in much the same manner. Kallum McGlen supplied the ball round the corner, where Dormand exposed the defence with a well-timed run before slotting underneath Staples’ legs.
Wideman Walton and full back Nellis both smashed wild efforts wide in search of a face-saving consolation
McCorrigan did at least hit the target, but found keeper Beal in fine form, a strong parry denying the substitute a consolation.
Terriers did snatch one back in stoppage time, Scott’s looping header from McCorrigan’s delivery reducing arrears.
It failed to take the shine off a fantastic away victory for West Allotment, who thoroughly deserved to take all three points back to Tyneside.
Four-goal hero Dormand best typified the attitude of the squad in general, a combination of quality and hard graft ultimately winning out.
The victory – Allotment’s third in six league games – sees the recently promoted outfit move up to 15th in division one, eight points clear of the relegation places.