NEWHALL United returned to winning ways after completing a Midlands Regional Alliance double over local rivals Willington.
The Blues found themselves in front after just 15 minutes and went on to beat the hosts, who were reduced to 10 men shortly before half-time.
It was Willington who had the best chance in the opening 15 minutes when the bounce caught out Blues skipper Richard Foster and Loz Rostron latched onto the ball, only to fire his effort against a post.
However, despite fielding former Notts County and Mansfield Town star Danny Martin in attack, the hosts could not find an opening and Newhall capitalised to grab a 15th minute lead. An attack down the right saw Shane Potter pull the ball back toward Richard Draycott and his effort found its way past Lewis Hearn via a defender.
The Blues relinquished the lead within five minutes, though, when Brett O’Donnell was allowed to run in unopposed and head a corner past Simon Baldwin.
Josh Johnson, promoted from the reserves, was having a bruising encounter up front for the Blues. He shook off a painful blow to the face and again when he landed awkwardly on his hip after colliding with Hearn.
Willington had a chance when a soft free kick was awarded against Potter, but Baldwin confidently plucked O’Donnell’s effort from the air.
Willington’s Martin Green received his marching orders in first-half injury time when he struck Rob Greenhalgh and left the Blues centre-half with facial injuries.
Newhall were able to regain the lead after the break when a direct ball from Baldwin found Joe Kilduff on the left and he advanced before taking the ball past Hearn and slotting home.
Willington struggled to trouble Baldwin, and when the ball was allowed to run across to Ashley Day, the left back’s effort was well over.
Hearn performed heroics at the other end to prevent Kilduff from increasing the lead after the Newhall winger had received a square ball from Jack Willars inside the six-yard box.
There was an element of controversy to Newhall’s third goal when Johnson finished Kilduff’s cross. The Blues had put the ball out of play for treatment to an injury and, after receiving the ball back from Willington’s throw, they played on and scored, angering the hosts. It was an unfortunate way for the victory to be sealed.
Blues boss Johnny Smith introduced fresh legs, with Stuart Watson, Jamie Worker, and James Eames all coming on and it was Eames who went closest to extending the lead when his low effort skimmed across the turf before being claimed by Hearn.
GOALS: O’Donnell 19 (Willington), R Draycott 15, Kilduff 63, Johnson 76 (Blues)
WILLINGTON: Hearn, O Brockley, Day, Stewart, Lynch (Bartram 56), Green, J Brockley, O’Donnell, Rostron, Martin, Fitzhugh (Cooper 65). Sub not used: James.
BLUES: Baldwin, A Greenhalgh, Harris, R Draycott, R Greenhalgh, Foster, Willars, M Draycott (Worker 84), Potter (Watson 77), Johnson (Eames 79), Kilduff.
SENT OFF: Willington – Green (violent conduct).
YELLOW CARDS: Newhall – A Greenhalgh (adopting an aggressive attitude).
BLUES STAR MAN: Joe Kilduff – made himself busy all game long.
REFEREE: A Smith (Derby).