HAVING missed 450 consecutive minutes of scheduled football owing to the weather, Wallington’s return to action saw them play 120 minutes, and beyond.

For they needed penalties to scrape past Ponteland United Reserves from three divisions below to progress in the George Dobbins League Cup.

The teams were tied at 1-1 after 90 minutes, requiring a further half hour in extra time.

With neither side able to find the winning goal, it was Wallington who kept their cool from the spot as successful spot kicks from Josh Willis, Simon Farrier, Jake Walton and Lewis Bateman secured the 4-2 victory.

It was a hammer blow for Northern Alliance Development Division leaders Ponteland who thought they had found the winning goal in the final moments of normal time, only for their goal to be ruled out for a contested handball decision.

Man of the match Lutfur Karim wheeled away in delight after finding the back of the net for the second time in the afternoon, however, there was shock when the referee ruled it out for an alleged handball by Steven Knox after consulting the linesman.

United looked the most likely to grab the opening goal during normal time, but they found themselves a goal down and with a mountain to climb as Michael Angus notched to give visitors Wallington the lead. However, parity was restored five minutes later when Karim converted at the back post to take the tie to extra time.

The added 30 minutes was evenly matched but Wallington, who ply their trade in the Alliance’s Premier Division, ramped things up in the second period without finding the killer touch.

Despite Wallington being rusty having not played since October 12, Reserves manager Kennie Malia was proud of his squad of 16 who more than matched their guests.

He said: “To all our players, it felt like a cup final and, playing three divisions below, we give them a real good run for their money, in my opinion. It was one of our best performances this season and there are a lot of positives to take from the game.”

Ponteland are due to host Morpeth Town Reserves on Saturday, with Wallington set to visit Alnwick Town in the Challenge Cup.