BIRTLEY TOWN 0-3 WEST ALLOTMENT CELTIC
By Chris Munro
WEST ARE BEST ON THE NIGHT
Following on from three very impressive wins, we looked to make it a fourth on Friday when we welcomed West Allotment Celtic to the Robinson Heating & Plumbing Stadium for what was to be our final home fixture of the season. Allotment are a very good side indeed and have players that can hurt you and they knew a win for them would not only be their third in succession but it would also see them climb a good three to four places in the table, which, at this stage of the season can be crucial.
In all fairness, a 3-0 defeat was a little flattering as it could so easily have been double that had the impressive Bruno Mendes-Correia taken his many chances fully but it was actually the home side that had the better chances in the opening twenty-odd minutes.
With thirteen on the clock, Kallum Hampson-Broadhead was played in by Joe Barwick with just the keeper to beat. His first time strike went wide when it looked as though he had all the time in the world to settle the ball and pick his spot. Three minutes later, a Mark Pattison free kick was headed just wide by Tony Smith and that was followed by a better header from Joe Barwick which produced a good save from Allotment keeper Sean Korsbo.
West started to come into the game more and could easily have bagged themselves a few goals. The deadlock was broken in the 28th minute when Bruno Mendes-Correia broke the deadlock with a bit of a scrappy goal from a corner but they all count. Three minutes later and there was another very good chance to score. A mazy run from Regan Patterson down the right-hand side who laid it back to Shane Jones. A quick one-two with Jones and Chapim saw the former get into the box, beat the defender to cross low across the six-yard box in search of Jake Forster who saw his effort blocked for a corner, seemingly with the Birtley keeper stuck in the mud at first.
Nothing came of the corner but it wasn't long before their next chance arrived. A foul on Jones from Mark Pattison fully 35 yards from goal tested Jordan Bolton who put it round the post for a corner. Possession was lost but soon won back via a throw in near halfway. The ball back across put Shane Jones away. He put a first time cross along the six-yard box which saw Matthew Hayton sliding in for it but luckily for Birtley, he didn't connect with it properly and the rebound was blocked then claimed by Bolton.
Another chance for Hampson-Broadhead in the 38th minute who flashed a strike wide of the keepers' left hand post. Two minutes later, the first card of the game was shown to Shane Jones for a foul on Dan Hill. It looked like the Birtley man had pulled his hamstring in the challenge and even though he sought treatment, you could tell he was struggling.
Right on the stroke of half time, Bruno Mendes-Correia was put through on goal by Regan Patterson. With only the keeper to beat, he really should have doubled his sides' advantage but Jordan Bolton blocked the shot and as a teammate collected the loose ball, the half time whistle was sounded.
HALF TIME | BIRTLEY TOWN 0-1 WEST ALLOTMENT CELTIC
The injury picked up by Dan Hill in the first half was too much and he was replaced by Robbie Williamson (himself returning from a nasty injury picked up in the game against Chester-le-Street Town) with two minutes of the second half played.
Celtic doubled their advantage in the 54th minute through striker Matthew Hayton, his 16th league goal of the season. Goalkeeper Sean Korsbo kicked a back pass up field. Birtley won a throw but lost possession quite quickly. Jake Forster sprayed a ball over the top which set Mendes-Correia away. His strike was well blocked by the Birtley keeper but he picked the rebound up outside the box and fed it to Gilberto Chapim whose low cross found Hayton. He held the defender off and slotted the ball into the opposite corner of the net to make it 2-0. It could so easily have been 3-0 less than two minutes later when Mendes-Correia struck from the right hand side of the box. Regan Patterson was sliding in at the back post but narrowly missed the ball and it ran for a goal kick.
The following ten minutes of the game saw Birtley make two changes; Cameron Hood replaced Kai Elliott on the hour mark. This was followed five minutes later as another young recruit from Park View Academy, Ben Ramsey replaced Aaron McEwen. In between these two changes, defender Tom Soutar picked up a yellow card for a foul. Allotment made their first change with twenty minutes remaining which saw Alex Berhan replacing Shane Jones.
With 78 minutes on the clock, Birtley lost possession of the ball and Berhan played a lovely weighted ball into Mendes-Correia. With only the keeper to beat, he somehow dragged his effort wide of the far post. A minute later another chance went begging with a strike just wide of the post.
Their pressure finally paid off in the 81st minute when a Regan Patterson corner found Jake Forster unmarked in the six yard box and he scored his sides' third goal with a diving header from close range. Forster was quickly replaced by Michael Leech as part of a double substitution which also saw John Somerville replace Regan Patterson
What would have been nothing but a consolation goal for the home side, another chance fell to Kallum Hampson-Broadhead with four minutes of normal time remaining but he unfortunately sliced his effort wide of the near post. At the other end, a great chance for Matthew Hayton to grab his second goal of the game saw him receive the ball with his back to goal. Although he twisted his body into the right position, he put his effort over the bar from eight yards out.
FULL TIME | BIRTLEY TOWN 0-3 WEST ALLOTMENT CELTIC
Other than the opening twenty minutes or so, we hardly threatened the Allotment goal and they were good value for their win although as mentioned earlier, it could have been a much higher scoreline.
Time to put that right on Wednesday night as we travel to West Terrace to face Esh Winning in a 7:30pm kick off, the first of four away games to complete our season.
A final mention is for our home attendance this season. The crowd through the gates for this game put our season total to a staggering 1988 which gives us an average of over 104 for each game. If you think about the crowds we were getting in our last season in the Northern League, we're over the knot with your support this season and can't wait to build on that in the 2019/20 season.