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Over-40s League: Willow Pond seal safety in epic draw against The Philadelphia

Penshaw Catholic Club (yellow) take on Heaton Stannington in last week's Robson Pattison Cup final. Picture by Stu Norton
Penshaw Catholic Club (yellow) take on Heaton Stannington in last week's Robson Pattison Cup final. Picture by Stu Norton

Willow Pond ended their Third Division season with a dramatic 3-3 draw against The Philadelphia.

Both sides gave it their all in a bid to win the game to ensure safety.

Philadelphia took the lead on 10 minutes after left-back Ally Wilson miscontrolled the ball in the box and Wilson’s hard tackle on Glenn Price was punished by a penalty, from which Paul Russell sent Willow keeper Andy Tilbury the wrong way.

Willow were soon level, with David Laws, Matt Barton and Kit Tipling combining before Tipling’s shot was blocked and star man David Kelly rifled the ball home from outside the box.

Willow went 2-1 up on 20 minutes, when Wilson and Gary Golightly set up Tipling, who scored at the second attempt after his first effort wass parried by Mark Redpath.

The hosts added a well-worked third goal, started by centre-half Andy Norman played the ball from his own box to Barton, who cleverly holds off Mickey Grieves to chest the ball down to Gary Barker, his first- time pass to Laws has him cut inside and play in Golighty for him to dribble round two defenders and set up Tipling on the 18 yard line to shot hard and low past Redpath.

The second half saw Willow spurn three golden chances. Phili kept on counter-attacking and referee Colin Stores pointed to the spot after Barker fouled Pallas following a corner. Russell blasted the penalty in off the bar to cut the deficit.

Then, after Golightly wasted a good chance for Willow, Phili equalised from a corner whipped in by Alan Jones. Tilbury came for the ball but missed it, and it fell for Pallas, who backheeled through Norman’s legs to make it 3-3,

Willow, with a superior goal difference, are safe. The Philadelphia, level with Willow, travel to third-bottom Heighington Bay Horse for their final fixture. Both cannot overtake Willow

Rolls-Royce outgunned bottom club Hartlepool Vets 3-0 to go seventh, while Durham County Strollers saw off relegated Redcar OId Boys 4-1.

Houghton Cricket Club lost 4-1 to visitors Hartlepool Stag & Monkey, who never looked back after going ahead in the 15th minute. The cricketers cut the deficit to 2-1 with a fine strike.