Glen Johnson’s 85th minute winner gave Willington Quay Saints all three points as they came back from a goal down to defeat nine men Forest Hall in the Northern Alliance second division.
Quay welcomed Micky Young, Ryan Ferrier and Kane Chirnside back into the starting line-up whilst Chad Dalby was handed his first Saints start at left back.
There was also a welcome return on the bench for club veteran Andy Duffield, while Stephen King making his 200th appearance was handed the captain’s armband to mark the occasion.
The game kicked off in strong winds and it was Saints who threatened first as Andy Breheny beat the offside trap but after he cut inside his marker he curled his shot over the bar.
Forest Hall were finding it hard against the wind and Chirnside should have made them pay as he raced onto a long ball that looked to be heading to the keeper but his first time shot sailed wide of the post when it looked like he was certain to score.
Youngster Dalby was a constant threat down the left hand side and after his mazy run won a corner, with the resulting kick causing panic in the Forest Hall area, but the ball fell agonisingly close to the goal line before it was hacked away by a defender.
The visitors’ only chance of note in the first half saw a great through ball find their left winger through on goal but Saints stopper Carl Mcguire was quick off his line to bravely save.
While Quay failed to take advantage of the wind in the first half, Forest Hall took just 15 minutes of the second to make it count as a through ball found Matty Smith and after spotting Mcguire off his line he brilliantly chipped the ball into the top corner from 30 yards to give the away side the lead.
Saints were pressed into action and a minute later grabbed an immediate reply through club captain Mark Henderson.
Another corner caused more drama in the box and when Forest Hall failed to clear Henderson pounced to grab his first goal in a year with a powerful strike that was deflected in past the keeper.
With Saints on top Forest Hall then began to self implode as they had two players sent off within five minutes of second half madness.
First their left back was dismissed for an incident with Micky Austin after a coming together, and then after Chirnside was fouled as he raced clean through on goal the referee was left with no other choice but to produce the red card for a second time.
Quay poured men forward looking to expose the two-man advantage and were the width of the post away from going ahead but Ferrier somehow managed to hit the post with the goal gaping after Breheny’s shot was only parried by the Forest keeper.
With five minutes left Saints got their winner. Captain for the day King went on a run beating three defenders before curling in a wonderful cross that Quay top scorer Glen Johnson met with a fine glancing header that beat the keeper and nestled into the corner for his 12th goal of the season.
The nine men of Forest Hall were not finished and they bravely went forward looking to grab a draw and in the dying seconds they went perilously close as a monstrous long throw-in flew into Saints’ penalty box and was cleared form underneath the crossbar by Henderson with Smith just about to head in his second of the game.
A scrappy game spoiled by the wind but a valuable three points for Quay as they showed good character to bounce back from the previous week’s hammering.
Saints: Mcguire, M Austin, D Johnson, M Henderson, King, Dalby, Young (Clynch 73), Ferrier, Breheny, Chirnside, G Johnson.