Percy Main 2 AFC Newbiggin 1
3rd league win of the season....
Credit to both sides for their endeavours on a particularly gusty afternoon as the wind did its best to ruin the game as a spectacle, but in the end, it was a most welcome 3 points for Percy Main against a Newbiggin side, who had only lost once in league and cup against The Main since both were promoted into the Northern Alliance's top tier at the end of the 2014-15 season.
The only surprise was that there were not more than 3 counters in the game as the frame of the goal at both ends was tested on no less than 5 occasions during the afternoon, while some errant finishing could also be blamed for the scoreline being kept down.
Newbiggin lined up with 3 former Main players in their ranks, Kevin Long on as a second half substitute, Ryan McKee who had transferred to the visitors during the latter part of last season and Ant Ridley, with over 100 appearances in claret and blue, were keen to impress, but it was 2 of Percy Main's more recent signings, Jake Forster and James Walker who both performed admirably throughout and netted the crucial goals.
Notorious for conceding early this season, Percy Main looked to reverse that trend and had 2 good chances within the opening quarter of an hour. On 9 minutes, Forster played a superb through ball for Jonny Storey to run onto, the centre forward took it in his stride and slipped the ball last the dive of Sean Gordge in the Newbiggin goal, only to agonisingly hit the base of the post and minutes later, James Mobberley's deep, looped ball into the area found Jack Armstrong at the far post, but his diving header fell inches the wrong side of the far post.
Newbiggin's Bailey Morton and Ross Muter troubled the home defence, but home custodian Craig Byrne and defender Mobberley respectively, were both well placed to snuff out the danger, while at the other end Storey, with a hint of offside was thwarted by Chris Bainbridge and Walker saw his shot scrambled from the line. Next to test the woodwork was Newbiggin's Morton, who smacked the ball against the post having been played in by McKee.
The deadlock was broken on the half hour mark as Storey made up ground down the left and centred for Forster, who cleverly engineered space and fired home to give The Main a bit breathing space. Amazingly, the scoreline was to stay the same for the rest of the half, despite Jordan Lashley's shot against the crossbar for Newbiggin, while Kieran Tubman and Walker both blazed over for The Main and Forster turned and fired goalwards only for Gordge to tip the ball against the bar and behind for a corner.
A minute after the restart, Mobberley was the next to take a bit of paint off the crossbar as his header from Storey's corner could've done with being a couple of inches lower. Walker then volleyed narrowly wide for The Main, but soon atoned for his earlier miss after being brought down in the area, he stepped up to slot home the resultant penalty himself.
For the visitors, Bradley Higgins fired over, substitute Jamie Essen tested Byrne in the home goal and Lashley's effort was just wide. Adam Green inadvertently deflected McKee's free kick just last his own post and Luke Malloy headed over as Newbiggin looked to get themselves back in the game, but Percy Main should have made it safe on 88 minutes as Joe Rowan supplied Rob Watson who raced clear into the area, but fired off target.
After The Main's Ronan Attwood brought a save from Gordge, Newbiggin scored what turned out to be no more than a consolation 2 minutes into injury time as Muter fired home.
It's Ponteland away for the Percy boys next Saturday....