Willington Quay Saints win opening game for first time in ten years

For the first time in ten seasons Willington Quay Saints won their opening game as they beat Wideopen FC 4-0.

The victory in the Northern Alliance division two also ended a 17-game run without a win.

Andy Macbeth should have given them a dream start when he was put clear through, but he shot wide of the upright.

Wideopen went agonisingly close to grabbing the opener on the half hour mark as striker Ross Dickinson beat the offside trap before lobbing Saints keeper Carl Henderson only for the crossbar to come to the rescue for the home side with the rebound well blocked by Mark Henderson.

With half-time approaching, Saints grabbed two goals in a minute to change the complexion of the game.

First Mark Henderson headed home a Phil Doolan corner to keep up his record of scoring in all of the Saints 17 seasons so far, then just seconds later Macbeth pounced on a slip up from the Wideopen right back before running on and bending the ball past the keeper into the corner to double the lead in a magical minute for the Quay.

Five minutes after the restart it was 3-0 as veteran striker Gareth Pugh ran onto a long ball before cutting back past his marker and the on-rushing goalkeeper before calmly placing the ball into the empty net.

Pugh was replaced by Andy Breheny on the hour and the substitute got his name on the scoresheet ten minutes later, firing home a tidy volley from 12 yards after Macbeth’s shot was parried into the air by the Wideopen keeper to seal the points for the Quay.

Wideopen were denied a consolation goal in the closing stages as Dickinson found space in the Saints area and unleashed a powerful strike from point blank range that Carl Henderson wonderfully kept out one handed to preserve his clean sheet.

Noel Clynch nearly added the icing to the cake with a fifth, but his flicked header from Kenny Horsman’s corner came back off the bar with the keeper beaten, and as the ball was cleared the final whistle blew with Quay victorious for the first time since November last year.

A big win to get the season off to a great start with each goal seeming to inject more confidence into the side.

Youngster Jack Wearmouth took home the man of the match award after a highly impressive performance at centre half on a day when everyone in a Saints shirt played their part in a solid team victory.

Willington Quay Saints: C Henderson, Clynch, Doolan (M Austin 70), King, M Henderson, Wearmouth, Horsman, Young, Wilkinson, Pugh (Breheny 60), Macbeth.