FULL TIME: SHILDON 5-0 WEST ALLOTMENT CELTIC
With such a scoreline, one would be forgiven for concluding that this was a one sided affair, but that would be to ignore some clear chances for the visitors, including an effort denied by the woodwork.
It would also be to ignore that Shildon toiled for the first half hour, unable to find a rhythm to their play and struggling to make decisive inroads into the opposing half. Crossing the ball early seemed a particular difficulty.
But all that changed when, once again, leading scorer Mark Doninger stooped to conquer, flinging himself bravely in front of a defending boot on the half hour to head Lewis Wing’s free kick home. It was a conversion which also served to teach the players what happens when you do get the cross in to the box.
A penalty followed ten minutes later and the attacking midfielder collected his and Shildon’s second, making no mistake from the spot. Allotment contested the award, and many in attendance were equally bemused, but Wing, claimed the referee, had his heels clipped in the act of shooting and the whistler could not have been any better positioned to witness the infringement.
“If I can’t get those right,” said the ref afterwards. Well, he may – or may not – want to study the video footage, which seems to support the findings of scientific studies that question the reliability of eyewitness testimony.
Shildon began the second half in a similar fashion to the first and received a fright when Liam Anderson steered a free header narrowly wide from close range. Allotment’s Joe Elliot then headed against the post as Shildon again seemed at sea defensively, but the arrival of Billy Greulich-Smith and Kyle Fryatt off the bench transferred the pressure to the opposite end of the field.
The Railwaymen stepped quickly through the gears and the frightening pace of the substitutes was enough to see off any hopes Allotment may have harboured of clawing their way back into the game.
First Billy broke free and his precise daisy cutter of a cross was dispatched on the run in the 80th minute by Fryatt, giving the keeper no chance.
Then it was Fryatt’s turn to cause havoc with one of those mazy runs we are becoming accustomed to. Lewis Wing was on the end of the final ball to sweep home Shildon’s fourth. The two goals coming within three minutes of each other were much more like the attractive and ruthless Railwaymen that scored 22 league goals in the opening month of the season.
Lewis Wing was on hand again near the end to emphatically fire home another from the junction of the penalty box and add a gloss that Allotment may have felt flattered the home side. Many in the 181 crowd appeared to agree that there didn’t seem to be five goals in this Shildon side after the opening half hour, although in truth there was only one team destined to take maximum points.
Shildon remain top and will meet their biggest test yet this season when they visit high flying newcomers Washington on Tuesday night. The supporters bus for that match is already fully booked.
SHILDON: Graham, Groves, Hodgson, Moore, Brown, Jones, Doninger (Hudson 76), Davis, Rae (Greulich-Smith 65), Wood (Fryatt 68), Wing.
GOALS: Doninger (28, 39), Fryatt (80), Wing (83, 89).
WEST ALLOTMENT CELTIC: Mullen, Elliott, Sayer, Dunn, Dobson, Anderson, Keenan, McRoberts, Scott, Pearson, Pocklington. SUBS: Lee, Kallis, Patrick, Webster, Parkinson.