Prudhoe Town 3 Percy Main 4 (AET)
7 goal 'thriller'
120 minutes of cup tie football at Prudhoe's atmospheric Kimberley Park ground, which swung one way and then the other and ultimately could have gone the way of either side, eventually saw Percy Main prevail, thanks to a late, late Jack Armstrong strike deep into stoppage time of extra time, just as the game appeared to be heading towards the lottery of penalty kicks.
Again for The Main it wasn't a pretty game and at times the visitors made hard work of things, especially as Wearside league side, Prudhoe were down to 10 men following the 55th minute dismissal of Ryan Anderson, yet The Villagers were unable to make their numerical advantage count, which if anything, only served to spur the home side on.
Percy Main have made disappointing early cup exits from the Northern Alliance's Challenge and League cups this season and to this effect, team manager Steve Hurd was keen for his side to progress in the county cup, similarly Prudhoe had suffered a comprehensive 6-1 home defeat to Hebburn Town Res, 7 days previous and they too were anxious to avoid defeat.
2 recent signings impressed on their Percy Main debuts as winger Joe Rowan made the starting X1 and James Walker, came on as a second half substitute, while in direct contrast Adam Green notched up his 100th appearance for the club and could at least celebrate that statistic with a win.
It was an edgy start by both sides and the opening exchanges saw Prudhoe's Derek Waters test Rob Rodgerson in The Main goal, while at the other end, Jake Forster's attempted cross was cut out by home skipper David Wansell when he might have attempted to shoot himself.
Each goal had a let off as firstly Prudhoe's Chris Garwood headed Wansell's free kick narrowly over and Percy Main top scorer Sam Thompson, brought a full length save from home custodian Liam Blair from a free kick on the edge of the area, having been upended himself by Ryan Anderson. The infringement was to earn Anderson the first of 2 yellow cards, during the game.
The Main's Marcus McCreedy produced a superb last ditch challenge on Aaron Fletcher as the home forward bore down on goal, but the deadlock was broken on 27 minutes in The Main's favour as a long ball from defence by James Mobberley, found Thompson who made up ground and squared from the left touchline and Dan Hadfield was perfectly placed to fire home the first of the afternoon.
Any thoughts that Percy Main would run away with things were banished 7 minutes later as Waters headed home the equaliser for Prudhoe as Garwood claimed an assist. As half chances came and went at both ends The Main found themselves behind a minute before the interval. Fletcher produced a run on goal which was halted by the challenge of Mobberley, unfairly said the referee. Waters, without doubt the pick of either team during the contest, lined up the resultant free kick and fired past the dive of Rodgerson.
The start of the second half saw Prudhoe twice go close as Rodgerson saved from Ryan Lowes, with the half only seconds old and as Fletcher was fouled on the edge of the angle, Waters directed the free kick just over, but 10 minutes in, it was those of a Percy Main persuasion who were celebrating once again.
Thompson played in Forster down the left who bore down on goal and was brought down by Anderson in the area. Prudhoe protested loudly that Forster had been offside (as he might have been and as they protested about just about everything else and very graphically, which somehow went unpunished by the referee) Anderson was sent for an early bath and Thompson confidently despatched the spot kick to level matters for the second time in the afternoon.
For Percy Main, James Leggett made a telling challenge to thwart Frazer Briggs, while Michael Hedley was unable to capitalise on a great through ball from Robert Hamilton, who had required treatment for a head injury (well, Hurdy expertly, poured some water over it) only minutes earlier.
Walker for The Main almost got on the scoresheet seconds after coming on, as Adam Green played the ball through, while at the other end, the unchallenged Fletcher, played in by Luke Banks, missed a great chance as he scooped a shot over the bar. There were chances for either side to win the game during the closing minutes of normal time as Green touched on and The Main's Thompson, brought a save from Blair and in reply Fletcher centred low from the left and the ball just evaded the on rushing Banks at the far post.
With extra time underway, Forster for the visitors headed over from Walker's cross and Prudhoe's Briggs fired narrowly past the far post, but The Main took the lead for the second time in the afternoon on 106 minutes as Hadfield found Thompson who shot low past Blair.
The goal brought a degree of relief to the visiting contingent, but the drama was far from over as Waters chipped into the area and the ball agonisingly just evaded the diving Garwood and Ryan Lowes. Perhaps inevitably and looking the more likely to score, Prudhoe equalised once more, with Waters instrumental again as his free kick was headed home by Fletcher with just 6 minutes remaining.
It looked as though penalty kicks would be needed to decide the tie, but incredibly there was another twist in the tale 2 minutes into extra time stoppage time as Forster played in a free kick from the left and Jack Armstrong's deflected effort found the net for Percy Main's fourth and the eventual winner.
North Shields Athletic away on Saturday....