Ponteland Utd 4 Percy Main 3
Just the normal 7 goals.....
Percy Main's latest 7 goal thriller, their third in the last 4 games following similar score lines against Prudhoe Town and Whitley Bay 'A' was a bitter pill to swallow, following an impressive performance against a Ponteland side unbeaten in their last 7 league games and who had defeated The Villagers by a 6-0 margin in the corresponding league game last season.
But once again, there were many encouraging individual performances to hearten the travelling contingent, but ultimately defensive mistakes were to cost The Main dearly, as despite a superb hat trick by summer signing Jonny Storey, Ponteland sneaked an unlikely victory courtesy of an own goal with 3 minutes remaining.
Percy Main stated their intentions from the off and made an attacking start to the game, Storey had the ball in the net after 2 minutes, but the referee had blown up for offside, Jake Forster produced a storming run from deep and his goalbound effort was tipped behind by home custodian Craig Winham and Dan Hadfield fired across goal. Inevitably perhaps, the deadlock was broken on 20 minutes and it was no surprise that it was in The Main's favour as the busy Hadfield touched on to Storey who turned and fired a glorious curling effort beyond the dive of the goalkeeper and into the top corner.
Any thoughts that Percy Main would kick on and increase their advantage were dashed 5 minutes later as visiting goalkeeper Craig Byrne tipped away Sam White's right wing cross, only as far as Ethan Bewley on the opposite flank and his low centre back into the area, was bundled home by much traveller Ponteland striker Alex Benjamin. Their were appeals for a foul on Byrne which went unheard by the whistler.
There was barely time to draw breath as Percy Main's Jack Armstrong tested Whinham with a low drive, before the visitors got themselves in front for the second time of the afternoon only 2 minutes after Ponteland's leveller and it was the same combination as the first, as Hadfield again with a second assist, released Storey who went on to finish in clinical fashion past Whinham.
The Main survived a scramble in the area and Byrne saved from Benjamin with his legs, while at the other end, Storey wasn't far from his hat trick following a through ball by Adam Green. With 10 minutes of the half remaining, Ponteland turned their 1 goal deficit into an advantage as firstly Benjamin levelled for the second time of the game with a shot from the edge of the area and Bewley took advantage of slack play in the Main rearguard to put his side in front for the first time in the afternoon.
7 minutes after the interval Ponteland were handed a golden opportunity to double their lead and give themselves a bit breathing space as Robert Hamilton upended White in the area and a penalty was given. Benjamin stepped up for his hat trick, but Byrne was equal to his spot kick going down low to his right.
On the hour Bewley spurned a good chance for Ponteland and minutes later it was Whinham for the home side who produced the save of the game as Forster found Sam Thompson whose exquisite shot had goal written all over it, only for the goalkeeper to somehow touch the ball onto the top of the crossbar and behind for a corner.
Main substitute James Walker who hit his first goal for the club 7 days ago against Newbiggin, found himself thwarted on a couple of occasions by the well marshalled home defence, while Liam McIvor for Poteland saw his free kick held by Byrne, but it was another who came off the bench who was to make the next telling move for Percy Main.
Joe Rowan another recent signing, replaced Armstrong and with 11 minutes of the game remaining, made up ground on the left flank and found Storey, who finished in some style for the third time in the game. It was a well deserved hat trick from the visitors centre forward and certainly one which should have gained at least a point for his side, but there was to be a final and agonising twist in the tail, as the dying minutes saw another free kick given away on The Main's right flank, McIvor again, pumped the ball into the area and Kieran Tubman, under pressure from Bewley inadvertently headed the ball into his own net.
It's Hexham away in the Bowl quarter final next Saturday....
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