05 Dec 2021 in Match Reports
Albion looked set to pick up a vital three points on the road with just 14 minutes remaining... but then disaster struck.
Willington 4-2 RACA
A late capitulation from RACA saw Willington bag three times in 14 minutes to snatch all three points at Hall Lane.
Dan Eltringham gave the hosts an early lead but Albion fought back valiantly with goals from Shaun Pickford and Hylton Hub. However, the closing stages saw the game thrown away as Aaron Jackson and a brace from Ashley Davis gave Willo a convincing win.
Dan Iredale’s side travelled South looking to avenge a brutal 4-1 home defeat from September, but that plan went to ruins on a cold day in County Durham.
The opener came on nine minutes when Eltringham had a shot blocked by Lee Waugh just inside the area. Willington’s left-back had another bite of the cherry from the rebound and curled his second attempt past Dan Gladstone.
RACA remained pinned back in their half for the next 10 minutes, punting long balls towards the technically sublime, but not-so-physically imposing Konner Lamb.
They did pull level against the run of play, however, via a brilliant move down the right-hand side.
Rhys McLeod fought well to get possession back and played a neat one-two before carrying the ball towards the halfway line. He slotted in Pickford, who dinked a lovely composed chip over Carl Robsinson to pull Albion level.
Davis almost put Willington back ahead immediately when he drew a fantastic save out of Gladstone from close range. The rebound fell to Ciaran Banks, who fired high and wide.
The visitors settled after that and began to get a grip on proceedings, with the move of the game seeing four RACA shirts combine before teeing off Lamb, who jinked past Willo defender and almost fired one home.
Waugh almost gave Albion the lead in stoppage time when his effort from a corner was cleared off the line, with a draw probably a fair reflection of the first half events.
Controversy struck on the hour mark when McLeod floated a cross towards Hub. The Albion man’s volley cannoned off the crossbar and down, with the away dugout believing the ball had crossed the line.
Hub had his goal moments later, however, when he brilliantly skipped past several Willington shirts before slotting into the corner from inside the area with his left foot.
RACA we’re enjoying their best spell of the game, with Lamb charging down on Robinson on 69 minutes in a two v two situation.
Instead of squaring across to McLeod, Lamb went for goal himself and spooned a poor effort over the Willington crossbar. The game should have been buried right there.
Naivety kicked in, with Albion still allowing the game to be wide open instead of seeing out the victory.
The first warning sign came from Kurt Seymour, who had a shot from distance skew wide of the post.
The equaliser came on 76 minutes when - from distance - substitute Jackson was allowed a strike that arrowed straight into the bottom corner.
Momentum was now on Willington’s side, who didn’t take long to capitalise and take the lead.
Davis - who had been a thorn in the RACA backline all afternoon - saw a shot on goal blocked by Carl Paterson.
Similar to Willington’s opener, the rebound fell nicely back to Davis, who caressed a right-footed dink past Gladstone to send the home dugout into raptures.
Albion we’re all over the shop at this point and the fourth came shortly after.
A pass across the box from the right fell to Davis, who took one touch to flick the ball up and another to smash home - giving a much-deserved three points to the home side.
It’s hard to find an explanation as to why RACA folded under pressure the way they did in the final 15 minutes.
When Willington were under the cosh, they managed to absorb the pressure and find a way to stay in the game.
Albion, on the other hand, looked vulnerable whenever things weren’t going their way and Willington punished them for the second time this season.
A trio of home games are up next for RACA, who must start turning their patchy form around if they want to be taken seriously as promotion candidates.
Starting XI - Gladstone; Brown, Paterson, Waugh, Symons; Turnbull, Bamborough, Pickford; McLeod, Hub, Lamb
RACA Fans’ Man of the Match - Shaun Pickford