Over-40s League: It’s Allison wonderland as four-goal Gary keeps Sandpiper on course for the title

Willow Pond (blue and white) battle The Philadelphia in the Over-40s League last week. Picture by Tim Richardson
Willow Pond (blue and white) battle The Philadelphia in the Over-40s League last week. Picture by Tim Richardson
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First Division leaders Washington Sandpiper continued their tremendous winning run with a 5-3 home win against St Mary’s College.

The star of the show was prolific scorer Gary Allison, who scored four goals and made the other.

Sandpiper went into the lead when Allison curled a brilliant cross for Andy Lumsden to head in at the far post, then Allison fired a great first-half hat-trick with two headers and a penalty.

St Mary’s battled hard and pulled two goals back before half-time when Wally Kaid took advantage of defensive mistakes to punish Washington and make it 4-2 at half-time.

Sandpiper added to their lead in the second half when Allison nodded in at the back post, only for Saints to come back again with a header from Mark James to close the scoring.

Brian Southern was praised by both sides for his performance as referee.

Second-top Wearmouth CW stayed a point behind with a 2-0 home win over The Milbourne Arms for a 16th win in 20 games.

Dubmire climbed away from danger, rising to seventh-bottom spot, with a 2-0 victory at third-top Heaton Stannington, though they are just four points above the bottom two.

Easington CIU and Hartlepool Gillen Arms served up a 2-2 draw..

CIU had a penalty saved by Mark Theobald, but they twice went in front, only for a penalty and a well-taken second goal to level matters. Easington held firm for their point despite being down to 10 men.

The Philadelphia and hosts Willow Pond extended their impressive unbeaten runs in Division Three in a hard-fought 1-1 draw.

Phili made it nine undefeated, while Willow have now gone 10 without a loss.

Both teams started brightly and were probing the defences for a weakness, but both held firm.

Willow Pond, though, took the lead when a speculative shot from Gary Golightly on 35 minutes, from about 25 yards, bent and looped over the visiting keeper and gave them a half-time lead.

The Philadelphia came out more determined in the second half, but Willow defended well and tried to catch Phili on the counter-attack. The game was locked in stalemate, with Willow looking set to hold on, but the visitors changed their tactics and, with five minutes to play and after good approach work, Paul Russell was on hand to shoot from the edge of the area, through a crowded penalty area, to give the visitors the goal they deserved.

Gary Shields took his goals tally to 40 for the season with a strike as Blue House demolished Wingate Cons 4-0 to move 11 points clear at the top, producing an excellent all-round performance.

Houghton Cricket Club drew 2-2 with second-bottom Woodhorn Lane to stay three points above their relegation rivals.

Rolls-Royce were beaten 2-1 by Wallsend Winstons, who stayed third and moved a point behind The Philadelphia, while Oddies shared the spoils in a 2-2 draw at home to Washington JFC Biddick Inn. Bottom club Boldon Colliery Tavern drew 2-2 at Sedgefield Black Lion in a relegation six-pointer.

Penshaw Catholic Club stunned high-flying Cramlington Burton House with a superb 5-2 Premier Division away win, for only their sixth league win all season.

Man of the match Chris Moody was on fire again with four well-taken goals, having scored a hat-trick the previous week against Steels. John Kelly scored the fifth with a header from a corner.

Penshaw conceded a dubious early penalty and were 2-1 down before fighting back with a great team effort.

Marden won 2-1 at Darlington Shuttle and Loom, while bottom club South Shields were beaten by the same score at Tudhoe Black Horse.

Second Division front-runners Seaham Marlborough were held to a 1-1 draw at battling Mill View SC, allowing Thornley Celtic to move within a point of top spot, with four games in hand, thanks to a 4-2 victory at Durham Stonebridge.

Hylton CW, in third, moved three points clear of fourth-placed Stonebridge with a 2-0 defeat of South Shields Catholic Club.

Third-bottom Peterlee Helford are in big trouble after a 5-1 loss at North Shields Pineapple, who moved off the foot of the table with their third win of the season.

In Division Four, Colonel Prior were beaten 4-0 by Hartlepool Vets, while Durham County Strollers blew a 2-0 lead and had to fight back for a 3-3 draw against Hartlepool Tech.

Oddfellows Arms put up a good fight in a 4-2 home loss to Pelton Newfield, while bottom club Wearmouth Old Boys were sunk 7-1 at leaders Newcastle East End.

Ivy Legends consolidated third place with a 1-1 draw at mid-table Stanley Ball Alley.

Grindon Broadway progressed in the Kenny Ball Cup with a single-goal success away to First Division rivals Ferryhill Greyhound.

Grindon should have won the tie easily but had to settle for a 25th-minute winner, netted by David Taylor. In the second half, Grindon should have finished the game off with a penalty, but the home goalkeeper saved the badly taken spot-kick. Grindon stayed on top, but they could not find another way through a hard-working defence.

Pelton Crown also triumphed on their travels, winning 5-4 at North Ormesby Vets.

Coxhoe Red Lion lost 3-2 at Consett in the Alan Spedding Cup.