A good first-half performance by West Allotment Celtic was enough to see them comfortably progress in the Ernest Armstrong Cup at Ryton and Crawcrook last night.

The warning signs were there from the off for the home side.  They couldn’t get the ball out of their own half and their sloppy passing just gifted the ball to West Allotment.

So it was no surprise when the visitors took an early lead with Gilberto Chapim getting a foot to a loose ball in the Ryton box to prod it to Michael Baxter who had ample time to pick his spot and make it 0-1.

It got worse soon afterwards for Ryton.  Two minutes after falling behind they were two down when Regan Paterson was presented with a clear shot at goal.  Eight minutes in and the Ryton defence had yet to get started.

They were only saved from conceding a third in the 14th minute when Callum Turnbull got ahead of West Allotment striker John Campbell to head a cross out for a corner.  Just after the half-hour mark a free kick by Campbell was headed back across the penalty area by Matthew Hayton, setting Jack Errington up for a header which bounced off the bar.

Errington was more successful just before half-time – this time getting on the end of a Baxter cross to plant a header into the net to make it 0-3.

At the other end it was an easy task for the Allotment defence to deal with Ryton’s rare forays into their half.  Not much went right for them in the opening 45 minutes.

Things picked up a little bit for them in the second half.  They managed to push forward and take more of the game to West Allotment.

In the 54th minute a good run by Jamie Dunn down the left gave him the space to knock a cross into the box, but it was just out of reach of Lewis Shorrock.  Martyn Hepple, Scott Jasper and Jamie Dunn caused a few more problems for the West Allotment defence and Tyler Davis covered a lot of ground both defensively and trying to push the team forward.

In the 69th minute Baxter was sent off for foul and abusive language, but Ryton couldn’t fully exploit the man advantage.  Shorrock hit a free kick just wide of the post but they finally got a goal in the 78th minute when Dunn got on the end of a long free kick into the West Allotment area and forced a header into the net.

But the last two chances fell to the visitors:   Jacob Forster seeing a shot cleared off the line by David Below and Paterson trying to bend the ball round Ryton keeper Stefan Holden only for it to hit the post and trickle along the goal line and go out.

Ryton and Crawcrook Albion 1 West Allotment Celtic 3 – Ernest Armstrong Memorial Cup.

Mike Snowdon