Willington Quay Saints secured back to back away wins for the first time this season with a hard fought win over a young West Allotment A side who battled valiantly despite having a man sent off five minutes before half-time.
Manager Peter Donkin made two changes with Stephen King replacing Grant Starling at left back and last week’s match-winner Kyle Austin replacing Ryan Ferrier in an attacking midfield role.
The home side started brightly in forcing three corners in succession, the third of which was missed by everyone as it flashed along the six-yard-box untouched before Mark Henderson put it out for another corner, giving the Saints an early scare.
At the other end, Allotment’s keeper did well to keep out an long range effort from Austin, and when he slid out to deny a Kane Chirnside run towards goal, Saints’ appeals that he handled outside the box were turned down by the referee.
Halfway through the half Allotment missed a glorious chance to go ahead as centre forward Ridi Muteba powered a header over the bar from six yards out with the goal at his mercy.
Saints thought they had taken the lead on the half hour mark as Chirnside raced through to fire past the keeper only for a controversial offside flag to go up when it looked like Chirnside had ran past the Celtic defender.
However, the decision was soon forgotten as just minutes later Chirnside ran onto a great through ball from Matty Adams to smoothly slot home to give Saints the lead with his first goal on his return to the club.
Allotment’s attempt to get back in the game were then dealt a massive blow as forward Muteba caught Saints skipper Mark Henderson with a flailing arm to the face which was seen by the referee and punished with a red card, leaving the home side with ten men minutes before half-time.
Despite their numerical disadvantage Celtic started the second half on top and should of been level just before the hour mark.
A stinging strike from Ben Jackson was brilliantly saved by Carl Henderson low down, and when the rebound fell to the Celtic left back he hit the underside of the bar with the goal gaping – a sliding tackle from Stu Duffield just doing enough to put him off.
Quay began to take control of the game as Celtic’s ten men began to tire and Andy Breheny, who had just came on for Chirnside, nearly doubled the lead as he challenged the keeper to a loose ball only to be denied by a covering defender.
The second goal was not long in coming, though, as with 25 minutes left Adams raced onto Glen Johnson’s defence splitting pass to effortlessly clip the ball over the on-rushing keeper and into the corner to score his second goal of the season.
For the first time in the game Saints were in control and they grabbed a somewhat flattering third five minutes later.
An in-swinging corner was heading out for a goal kick until a Celtic defender inexplicably headed the ball back into the six-yard-box and into the path of Glen Johnson who reacted quickest to tap the ball in from four yards, sealing the three points for the away side.
Callum Ancrum and Greg Starling replaced Taylor and Austin and they nearly linked up for a fourth goal as Starling’s shot was blocked after being found by a great diagonal ball from Ancrum.
The home side never gave up and went close to a consolation goal when their left winger cut inside and fired just over the bar with Carl Henderson beaten, and when the keeper smartly tipped a stinging drive from the same player past the post the referee blew for full-time giving Saints their second win in a row.
While not at their best, another pleasing win for Quay with great credit going to the talented West Allotment side, who fought till the end despite being a man short.
Willington Quay Saints: C Henderson, S Duffield, King, Clynch, D Johnson, Adams, M Henderson, Taylor (Ancrum 71), K Austin (Starling 71), Chirnside (Breheny 60), G Johnson.