Unlikely goal scoring hero earns three points

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A RARE goal from Josh Gilmartin saw Wallington to three Premier Division points.

It was the midfielder’s first goal for the Greens since netting in a 3-1 win over Heaton Stannington in October 2013, but it was an important one as it proved the difference in a tight contest with Shankhouse.

Gilmartin finished off a great move from the hosts, on hand to fire the ball home from close range to put his side ahead.

Defender Justin Millican picked out the marauding left winger Kyle Reardon with a precise ball over the top, and Reardon broke down to the bye-line before pulling the ball back for fellow wing man Gilmartin who had bust a gut to get in front of goal.

It was a popular goal too as he finally broke his barren spell of three-and-a-half years, although a year out in Australia doesn’t help the stats!

The game was in doubt prior to kick off due to a heavy pitch after heavy rainfall in the preceding days, but Wallington were hugely relieved to get just their sixth game of the year under their belts.

It was their first since defeating Ashington Colliers 2-1 four weeks previously.

Many won’t remember the game for chances created, with both sides struggling for any clear cut opportunities, but it was a fiercely contested affair.

Despite the scoreline, Wallington seemed fairly comfortable throughout and they were the opener from Gilmartin came from the real chance of note.

Striker Dan Thompson again posed a threat, and it looked likely that he would find the back of the net as he broke free only to be denied by a good save.

Thompson and strike partner John Paxton then linked up well to see the former through on goal again, but he dragged his shot wide to see the chance go begging.

It just wasn’t to be the striker’s day, and he sent a difficult header from Reardon’s cross off target.

The home side welcomed Matthew Blackith back into the starting line-up for the first time since the first game of the season, and he did well on his return to help Wallington tick.

He had a chance to double his side’s lead from a free-kick, but it wasn’t the greatest he has struck and it came bouncing back off the defensive wall.

From a corner, Shankhouse half cleared to Reardon on the edge of the box and his well struck half volley on his unfavoured right foot was heading for the top corner until the visiting goalkeeper pulled off a tremendous stop, at the expense of another set piece.

As a rarity, Wallington had a strong squad of 16 to choose from and Brad Richardson, Joe Laviers and 17-year-old Ben Culling were all introduced to proceedings during the second half.

And Richardson was presented with a great opening with 15 minutes remaining when he used his pace to bear down one-on-one with the visiting keeper, but he was denied by another great stop.

As time ticked away, Wallington’s nerves started to fray but the back four of John Meehan, Nick McClughin, Justin Millican and Josh Laverick handled everything thrown at them, making sure goalkeeper Rob Hodgson was largely a bystander.

Wallington have the chance to get their revenge on Gateshead Rutherford at the weekend, Gateshead causing a shock by winning 3-0 at Scots Gap last month.

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