West Allotment Celtic 1 Redcar Athletic 0 – Ebac Northern League Division One:

One mistake in the 60th minute was all it took for victory and West Allotment gratefully grabbed it with a clinical finish.

Up until there wasn’t much to choose between the two teams that sit comfortably in mid-table and that was reflected in the play.  The first half was busy but with only a couple of noteworthy incidents.

West Allotment right back Liam Beeston scrambled a Danny Boyle shot off the line.  At the other end, Mikel Thompson got past a couple of Redcar defenders, with defender Nathan Guru clearing Thompson’s cross away from the danger area.  With half an hour gone, a long ball found Allotment No. 9 Connor Campbell who turned it on to Lucas Lowery-Matondo, with his shot grabbed by Redcar keeper Jack Norton going to his right.

The game came to life in the closing minutes of the half.  Guru hit a weak back pass, latched on to by Campbell, but, with only the keeper to beat, he could only put it wide, the best chance of the match so far spurned.  That was quickly followed by a break by the visitors – a long ball finding Brandon Holdsworth; he nudged it past the defenders and keeper but his touch took him wide left and he couldn’t work the ball back on target.  The closest either team came to scoring came out of the blue – Jack Pearson hitting a long ball from wide left that sailed over everyone before hitting the far post.

The teams continued to trade openings at the start of the second half:  Campbell denied with a goal-saving block by Redcar left back Joe Thompson (who, off topic, has one of the longest and most impressive throw-ins in the league).  Ten minutes into the second period, Redcar’s Reece Kenney drilled a45-yard free kick into the Allotment and confusion between defender and keeper almost allowed the ball to trickle in.  And then came the mistake.

Mason McNeill hit a disastrous sideways pass that was easily intercepted by Lowery-Matondo who ran into the Redcar area and coolly slid the ball under Norton to score the decisive goal.

In the 76th minute Craig Hutchinson beat the offside before hitting a shot that clipped the outside of the post.  Mechack Kanda then intercepted another Redcar pass, he got the ball to Lowery-Matondo who tried to sqaure it to a team mate rushing down the right by the winger couldn’t get enough power in his pass to find him.

Redcar took the game to West Allotment in the last 10 minutes and were given a late advantage when Jack Errington was sent off in the fourth minute of added time for a second bookable offence.  In the last minute, a Redcar free kick found Alfie Conway at the far post, his header bounced awkwardly but Allotment keeper Jed Scott was able to grab it to close the game out.

Mike Snowdon