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Tuesday, 26 May 2015

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Magical moments seal victory for Wallington

TWO wonder goals from Wallington saw them reclaim the Clayton Charity Cup from holders Stocksfield.

John Paxton secured victory with a stunning goal in the 84th minute.

Jake Walton got the ball rolling with a great left footed strike on 18 minutes before man of the match John Paxton settled the tie with six minutes remaining with a storming strike from a tight angle.

The 2-0 result in the final at Haydon Bridge saw the Greens get their hands on the silverware they last won in 2011, beating Stocksfield that night by two goals to one.

Pacy striker Paxton was a constant thorn in the side of the Stocksfield back-line and enjoyed a good battle with Kevin Regan, his work rate seeing him produce the match winner late on.

The final lacked real urgency in the opening exchanges, neither side taking the game to the opposition in a low key start.

The only real chance of note came when a burst of pace from Jack Wanless saw him cross into the danger zone, but the ball was just ahead of arriving teammate Reece Davies.

The holders nearly conceded the opener at the other end as Paxton got his head to a corner, Stocksfield full back Barry Newton clearing the effort on the line with his chest before goalkeeper Mark Clark smothered it.

Wallington did draw first blood, though, Walton rifling an excellent shot on his unfavoured left peg from 25 yards out to send the ball sailing over Clark’s head to break the deadlock on 18 minutes.

Within minutes, the margin was nearly two when lumbering centre half Simon Brown sent a pile driver on goal from about 35 yards only to see his shot miss the target by a matter of inches.

Both sides encountered early injuries to bring about first half changes, Thomas Truscott replaced by Ryan Gair for Wallington and Wanless’ injury curse continuing for Stocksfield and swapped for Paddy Finnerty.

And holders Stocksfield nearly got back on level terms shortly before the break, a fantastic ball from Peter Levin putting Davies clear but he rushed left footed shot and the ball was well wide in the end.

With the last action of the half, Stocksfield had the best chance of the game when Wallington goalkeeper Matthew Lees flapped at a long free kick into the area with the ball falling to Finnerty who had the goal gaping in front of him. However, his effort was deflected behind by a covering defender on the line.

The momentum remained with The Oranges after the break, Davies again coming close but seeing his shot just wide of the target.

But Paxton was beginning to find his stride and his pace saw him get in behind after a moment of indecision from centre half Regan and goalkeeper Clark.

He managed to clip the ball but Clark looked to have got a strong hand onto it to tip it over, Premier League linesman Mick McDonough awarding the goal kick instead.

Stocksfield were still plugging away though and Levin came within whiskers of tying the scores with a whipped free kick, but it just cleared the woodwork.

Further changes were needed and Stocksfield full back Newton took over shot stopping duties to replace the injured Clark, David Burns coming on to fill the defensive void.

And the stand-in goalkeeper could do little to keep out the deciding goal six minutes from time, Paxton thumping home a thunderbolt the settle the tie.

The striker cushioned a ball over the top on his chest to set himself, and then rifled an effort on the angle which beat Newton at his near post.

Wallington continued to attack despite being more or less home and dry, Gair hitting the post from an almost impossible angle to be denied a clever third.

While the final was a more subdued encounter than in previous years, the Greens deserved their success as their centre half pairing of Brown and Justin Millican stifled the Stocksfield attack and Paxton had his markers constantly on their heels.