West Allotment Celtic began the new year with a heavy defeat, losing 4-0 to Newcastle Benfield at Whitley Park.
Allotment fell behind in the 8th minute after Enfield striker Paul Brayson tapped home from close range. The away side doubled their lead after Oliver Leedham’s strike deflected off Allotment centre-half Paul Stoneman and past the helpless goalkeeper, Chris Bannon.
A missed penalty from Allotment’s Craig Hindmarch was punished moments later as Paul Brayson fired home his second goal of the match before completing his hat-trick in the second half to round off their first victory of 2017.
West Allotment went into the game off the back of an important draw at Whitley Bay on Boxing Day. However, they started slowly against a side which possessed strikers John Campbell and Paul Brayson who had 46 league goals between themselves this season.
After Jack Devlin’s strike was saved by the feet of Allotment goalkeeper Chris Bannon, the ball fell kindly into Brayson’s path and, with an open net, the striker easily opened the scoring.
Allotment thought to have equalised through striker Stephen Young after he cleverly chipped the Benfield goalkeeper, Andrew Grainger, who was forced into tipping the ball over the crossbar.
Allotment striker Liam Hudson also had a low drive pushed away by Grainger, who managed to get across the goal and apply a strong hand.
The saves proved crucial for Benfield as they doubled their advantage in fortunate circumstances. After winger Oliver Leedham moved inside from the wing, he sent a dangerous strike towards the goal. The strike was deflected by Paul Stoneman and cruelly caught Bannon out by surprise.
Benfield relied heavily on Grainger to stop Allotment from scoring after making a terrific save, using his quick reflexes to palm away a powerful header from Hudson.
Allotment needed a lifeline and were awarded a penalty by the referee. It seemed though that luck would not be on their side as Hindmarch’s strike crashed against the crossbar before the ball was cleared from danger.
Minutes after the penalty miss, Benfield scored their third through Brayson. After a header from Marc Dummett cannoned off the crossbar, the ball eventually fell to Brayson, who hit a sweet strike which flew into the net via the underside of the bar.
In the second half, it took just four minutes for Brayson to grab his hat-trick. After a wonderful through ball by Leedham put John Campbell through on goal, his shot was saved well by the feet of Bannon.
However, like the opening goal of the game, Brayson was in the right place to place the rebound, his 26th league goal of the season, into the back of the net.
West Allotment Celtic remain in the relegation zone, eight points adrift of Washington who lie in 19th place.
Their next match sees the club travel to Bishop Auckland on Saturday 14th January.