Ambers beaten by Champions Elect
The Ambers battled hard but were beaten 3-1 by Pontefract Collieries ....
After suffering two defeats in less than a week, the last team that The Ambers were wanting to face in their final league game of the season were Champions – Elect Pontefract Collieries, who have swept all before them in their first season back in the top flight of the NCEL.
There were recalls for Jordan Turner and Courey Grantham up front, whilst young Connor Cutts took up his place in the centre of midfield, shielding the back four. Cutts was involved immediately, winning the ball and setting up Turner whose good strike was well saved by Musselwhite in the Ponte goal, and a swift counter attack by the visitors ended with Redford’s strike being blocked by Brad Nicholson, with Greenhough firing the follow up wide.
Former Amber, Scargill was seeing plenty of the ball but his radar was a little off as he sent two shots well wide of the target, before James Ashmore had Musselwhite back pedalling at the other end, the keeper just getting a hand to the midfielder’s chipped attempt, the ball landing just wide. Musselwhite then managed to hold on to a sliced defensive clearance following Turner’s whipped ball in from the right.
With the game finely balanced, Ponte made the all important breakthrough after Lee Cooksey was penalised for a foul on Hey just outside the box, and up stepped prolific full back Greenhough to curl in his 13th goal of the season. Josh Hemmingway was unlucky not to level things up shortly after, when his spectacular volley from a quickly taken Ashmore free kick flew straight into the arms of the Colls keeper. Redford then had a shot blocked following a clever corner routine before Turner almost caught out Musselwhite but probably struck his volley too well and the long range strike cleared the bar. That was to be the last action from the former Ponte striker as he had to leave the field with a hamstring problem, Tyler Bradley replacing him.
As half time approached, Hey’s attempt drifted wide of Jon Hedge’s right hand post, before another well struck Greenhough free kick whistled wide. The visitors started the second half well and doubled their lead two minutes after the break, when Redford finished superbly at the back post after tormenting his marker to create the opening. The early blow was tough on The Ambers who had more than matched their high flying opponents thus far, but they continued to press forward whenever possible, and Nicholson sent a long ranger just wide before his excellent overlapping run and cross led to a half chance for Hemmingway who was crowded out.
Ponte though always looked dangerous, and from one swift break, Nicholson sent his opponent sprawling in the box leading to a penalty which Cromack crashed against the crossbar. However, the respite was short lived as the ball was soon delivered back into the box where it found substitute Dunne at the far post and he smashed the ball past Hedge to put the game beyond The Ambers.
Youngster Alfie Dodsworth entered the fray and, with Bradley and Parirs Dixon, he formed a trio of talented youngsters who played without fear against tough, experienced opponents, and gave a good account of themselves, as did Cutts who had been the night’s star performer. Bradley headed a difficult chance wide before Dodsworth shot wide after a jinking run, and it was fellow sub Will Eades who finally gave The Ambers the goal they deserved, when he headed home from an Ashmore corner four minutes from time.
Unfortunately, that was as good as it was going to get for The Ambers, and as the final whistle blew, Ponte were left deservedly on the brink of winning the title, requiring just one more point from their last two games.
HE Barnes Man of The Match – Connor Cutts