West Allotment Celtic 1-1 North Shields
By Luke Vinton (@LukeVinton_ )
West Allotment Celtic claimed a 1-1 draw with North Shields in their fight for Northern League safety, whilst affecting Shields’ bid for the Division One title.
Dean Holmes opened the scoring for the league leaders inside 20 minutes before John Pendlebury equalised for Allotment from close range, deflecting a off-target volley into the net.
Since their win over Ashington, Allotment had suffered two defeats against Morpeth Town and Bishop Auckland, while North Shields ended their 15 game unbeaten streak with a defeat to league challengers Shildon.
North Shields, managed by former West Allotment boss Jon McDonald, began the game brightly as they dominated possession in the middle of the park.
The first opportunity of the game ended in comic fashion for the away side as both Holmes and Lee Mason collided with each other whilst through on goal before the ball was cleared from danger.
However, Shields took the lead as Holmes, making up for his early mistake, raced onto a through ball before calmly slotting past Allotment goalkeeper Chris Bannon.
In the second half, North Shields began sharply and were unfortunate not to double their lead after striker Dan Wilson’s strike cannoned of the post.
Centre-half Curtis Coppen also missed a key chance after heading wide from a corner.
Despite the attacking pressure from North Shields, it was the home side who managed to sneak an unlikely equaliser.
After a clearance found the foot of Michael Hall, the Allotment defender volleyed the ball into the danger area where Pendlebury, standing in as captain, managed to divert the ball on target and into the net, leaving the North Shields fans stunned.
North Shields continued to push for a much needed goal to extend their title lead but were unable to break down a firm Allotment defence.
The result leaves Allotment three points adrift of Guisborough Town, who they will face in their next league fixture.