WALLINGTON 1-2 BIRTLEY TOWN
SUPER SUB MATTY BAGS BRACE
Last night saw our second game of the season as we travelled to Scots Gap to face Wallington. A couple of weeks earlier than the corresponding fixture the previous season which saw an injury time equaliser for the home side and despite their opening day defeat this season, we knew they were a tricky team. Thankfully, it had been agreed that the kick off had been put back by thirty minutes to allow everyone to get there on time, something Birtley gaffer Paul Beat took huge advantage of!
The first half didn't produce much to be honest with the highlight being an effort for the home side in the 26th minute when John Paxton found himself bearing down on goal after a great through ball. He opted to take the ball around Phil Mills in the Birtley goal but was thwarted by a combination of goalkeeper and defender as Lewis Whybrow stuck to his task and managed to get to the ball first with the subsequent rebound eventually going over the top.
| HALF TIME | WALLINGTON 0-0 BIRTLEY TOWN |
The second half brought an early-ish substitution as Graham McTaggart was withdrawn just before the hour mark due to injury with Wes Maddock taking his place. Two minutes later in the 59th minute, it was Birtley's turn for a 1-on-1 when Connor Halpin found himself in on goal but he also couldn't take advantage of it and the ball was cleared.
Wallington turned it up a notch in the 69th minute with a flash ball across the face of the goal from the right hand side which, thankfully, missed the head of the incoming Jordan Nellis by inches. This prompted another change for Birtley which saw Matty Baldwin replace Andy Hall in the 70th minute.
An immediate impact for the striker as he floated a lovely ball into Connor Halpin from the right which Connor was adjudged to have handled. Moments later though, the deadlock was broken when the two strikers combined again after a Jacob Roberts pass from the back fed the ball to Matty. With Connor, applying pressure, an attempt to nullify the threat saw Wallington midfielder Kyle Reardon attempt a back pass which Matty Baldwin took full advantage of by racing forward and firing home from just inside the the box. A big relief.
Up at the other end, there was almost an immediate response as Wallington had an effort tipped on to the crossbar by the Birtley keeper from a few yards out. The rebound was put in and the spin on the ball meant that it bounced awkwardly around the 6-yard box and had to be tipped over for a corner which came to nothing.
Birtley doubled their lead in the 81st minute as Connor Halpin and Matty Baldwin combined excellently again with the latter grabbing his second goal in eleven minutes which, in turn, would reward him with the man of the match award. No video footage of this one, or anything else after that though as the heavens had opened. He tells me his first goal was better anyway.
However, within two minutes of Birtley scoring their second goal and looking a lot more comfortable, Wallington pulled a goal back through striker Jordan Nellis which set up a very nervy finish to the game with the majority of those in attendance from Birtley fully aware of how the game had panned out the previous season. Connor Halpin was replaced by Daniel Whybrow in the 89th minute in an attempt to see the game out.
A relentless amount of pressure from our hosts followed in what was eventually six minutes of stoppage time with wave after wave of attack seeing them claim several corners off the bounce so to hear the sound of the full time whistle was a massive relief.
| FULL TIME | WALLINGTON 1-2 BIRTLEY TOWN |
We're back at home on Saturday as the games continue to come thick and fast when we welcome Newcastle University to the Sports Complex. Both teams are on maximum points from their two games to date with our opponents enjoying a comfortable 7-1 away win against Northbank Carlisle who we faced last weekend. With that in mind, it promises to be a good game.
Kick off is at 2:30pm and Wadgey's Bar will be open from midday serving food and drinks. Entry on the door will be £2 for Adults with kids and concessions receiving free entry. We hope to see you there.