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Northern League – Division 2

04 NOVEMBER 2020

An injury-hit Allotment team dug deep to earn three crucial points and go second in the league table – a position they will hold until at least early December as the national lockdown ends all “non-elite” football for the time being. It was an especially creditable performance as the visitors effectively had to win the match twice, having squandered a two-goal lead before finding the energy to create a winner.

Rui Martins, who made four appearances for Allotment during the 17/18 season, signed from Newcastle Benfield on the day of the match. He was immediately pressed into action as the Celtic management were forced to pick a team from a threadbare squad – perhaps a month off will be no bad thing from that perspective. Martins should have marked his “second debut” with a goal on eleven minutes but pulled his shot wide of the upright with only the keeper to beat; perhaps he couldn’t see the target in the Stygian atmosphere pervading the Dr Pit ground. 

The game soon settled down into a pattern whereby Allotment tried to play football while the Terriers thwacked the ball forward and chased it down energetically. Bedlington’s tactics weren’t pretty but were threatening on occasion, as when Cameron Fenton reached one particular punt ahead of the visiting defenders but was unable to hit the target. Football then overcame force as Celtic scored two delightful goals in the space of four minutes. The first came thanks to the shuffling feet of Mikel Thompson in the 21st minute. Latching on to a poor clearance, Thompson moved the ball through a posse of defenders before calmly side-footing beyond Allotment old-boy Karl Dryden in the home goal. Another wretched piece of Terriers defending then allowed Michael Baxter to take a touch, cut inside his marker and curl a beauty into the top corner from fifteen yards. 

At that point, Bedlington appeared on their way to a comprehensive defeat but pulled a goal back within two minutes of Baxter’s strike when Jordan Patterson’s mishit shot somehow found its way beyond Finn Hodgson. The recovery was completed in the 53rd minute when Fenton fired a cross-shot high into Allotment’s net from the right flank. Could Allotment summon up renewed verve to shake off this disappointment? Of course they could. Continuing to play passing football despite the cloying surface, Celtic’s reward came on the 59th minute when a fine move involving Martins and Thompson ended with Matty Hayton stretching to turn the ball past a scrambling Dryden at the far post. 

A killer fourth goal just wouldn’t arrive, leading to a nervy final few moments for those from West Allotment. The anxiety wasn’t helped by the intermittent bangs from fireworks being set off a day too early in a neighbouring street. Fortunately, the Terriers failed to create their own fireworks, although Hodgson had to be alert to tip over a pot shot near the end, and Celtic were able to manage the game towards the final whistle in reasonable comfort. The Allotment squad can now rest and repair for a few weeks while enjoying an occasional glance at the league table.

Allotment: Hodgson; Bolton; Parkinson; Forster; Chapim; Scott: Baxter; Carney (Mendes-Correia); Hayton; Thompson; Martins. Subs not used: Logue and Bates.

Mikel Thompson Who scored the first last night


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