Percy Main 3 Seaton Delaval 4
Cup woes for The Main
For the 4th consecutive season, Percy Main have faced Seaton Delaval during the month of September in either the first round of the Northern Alliance's Challenge or League cup competitions and each of the previous occasions, have seen the tie settled by a single goal. The latest game, a 7 goal thriller which provided lots of talking points, proved no different, as Delaval's Paul Dunn dramatically netted in the 89th minute to sink the home side, who had twice been in front during the contest.
Last minute goals have also proved key factors in deciding those previous ties, but it was a very early strike which threatened to derail The Main's efforts to progress in the competition. 3 days previous, Percy Main had shipped a goal just a minute in, during the midweek defeat at Whitley Bay, this time, there was barely 30 seconds on the clock, before the visitors advanced down the right and Liam Davison's deflected effort gave Seaton Delaval an early advantage.
Although once again Main critics could point to missed chances in front of goal and possession which failed to yield it's deserved rewards, allied with lapses in defensive concentration, this was a much improved performance from the recent contests against Ponteland United and Whitley Bay 'A' which had failed to produce a single point.
Scoring had also been a recent problem for Percy Main, but this was rectified on 8 minutes as a long throw by Jack Armstrong, helped on by James Walker was met by Robert Hamilton, who headed past the dive of Kevin Morton in the visitors goal to level matters early on.
Seaton Delaval's leading scorer Sam Johnson flashed an effort just last the upright, but The Main gradually took control and exerted a spell of pressure on the visitors defence. On the quarter hour, Hamilton played a superb diagonal ball out to Kurt Burns who advanced down the right and played in Ryan Richardson, but his low shot was narrowly off target and Kieran Tubman saw his goalbound effort from Adam Green's corner scrambled from the line.
Percy Main duly went in front on 20 minutes, as Ryan Laws making his first start for almost 3 years due to injury, although you wouldn't have thought so, by his assured performance, put in a great cross from the left flank and Walker slotted the ball home at the far post. It was just the tonic The Main needed and Burns, who represented Seaton Delaval last season, looked to consolidate his side's lead, but fired just last the post, after being played in by Richardson.
As has so often been the case this season, Percy Main then fell for the sucker punch as Paul Dunn flicked on and Sam Johnson beat the offside trap and a static home defence to restore parity once more, with a low shot which beat Shaun Backhouse in the home goal.
As the half drew to a close, there was still more drama, at the other end this time, as Burns was bundled over in the area and Laws confidently despatched the resultant penalty to put the home side in front once more and that lead may have been more emphatic in first half stoppage time as substitute Ian Graham on for the injured Walker, sent an effort whistling just the wrong side of the post.
Seaton Delaval had a penalty appeal themselves which went unheard as Dunn went down in the area, Scott Brotherick tested Backhouse with a lofted ball into the area, to which the home goalkeeper was equal to and proved his mettle once more with a low diving save to thwart Johnson.
Hamilton once again, played in a delightful ball to the far post, which the stretching Laws could only direct over, but The Main should have gone further ahead on 58 minutes as Armstrong took advantage of hesitancy in the visitors defence, but presented with a clear chance, could only direct his shot over the bar.
As the game swung from one end to the other, the visitors hit back to level once more as Johnson's deep cross from out wide on the left, was headed home by the unmarked Dunn. Johnson then had an effort scrambled behind for a corner, but with the game seemingly heading into extra time, Dunn struck once more, with what turned out to be the deciding goal, as he converted Daniel Hindmarch's cross at the far post.