Percy Main 2 Gateshead 'A' 2
A draw to start the new year.....
The inclement weather of the previous few days had once again cause havoc with local football and The Main's efforts to get the game in were rewarded with a head earned point against one of the Northern Alliance Premier division's most improved sides. Prior to the game, the young Gateshead side had won 4 from their previous 5 league games, which had included an impressive victory over Newcastle University, the University's only league defeat this season. Credit to both sides for playing their part in an entertaining game on what turned out to be a very heavy pitch.
There was to be no repeat of The Main's earlier 4-1 victory over Gateshead at the International Stadium back in August and there were a few missing from the home line up, but this enabled team manager Steve Hurd to hand a debut to defender Dale Johnson, alongside James Leggett at the centre of the Percy Main defence, Jorge Bollado who had figured for the club during the first division championship winning season of 2014-15, partnered Jonny Storey in the team's front line and former player of the year Redmond Cockburn, currently serving queen and country, slotted in at right back for only his second appearance of the season.
The Main could be forgiven for looking a little ring rusty at times as this was their first game of any description since November and the first home game since AFC Newbiggin were beaten 2-1 on October 28th, mainly due to the mini festive break and the inclement weather of late, which had put paid to all of last month's fixtures.
Percy Main got 2018 off to the best possible start with a goal after only 5 minutes as Hurd (Jnr) played in Storey whose shot was half saved by Ryan Lumsden in the Gateshead goal, but The Main forward was quickest to the ball and managed to slot home to nose his side in front.
The visitors then came more into the game and created the lions share of the chances. Winner Lauba was prominent down the left and he troubled The Main defence throughout the game, without being able to provide the final ball which might have unlocked the home defence. Rob Rodgerson in the home goal, twice earned his corn with a save with his legs from Luaba and minutes later brought off a point blank stop from Liam Buttler.
In between, Luaba fired across the face of goal to which none of his team mates ere able to profit and Daniel Hayes fired over the angle as Gateshead looked to restore parity, while at the other end, Hurd's powerful effort was just over and Storey maybe should have done better after finding himself one on one with Lumsden, following a cunning ball into the area by Rob Watson.
With the first half into stoppage time, Gateshead levelled as Matty Halliday profited from being given too much space on the edge of the area and he fired home past the dive of Rodgerson. As if that wasn't bad enough for Percy Main, Halliday put Gateshead in front only 2 minutes from the restart as he fastened onto a left wing centre by Buttler to scramble the ball home.
The Main rallied and almost got back on terms only 3 minutes later as Storey's free kick was met by Cockburn and his glancing header was inches past the far post, while Jack Armstrong curled an effort just over. Jake Macardle and Brandon Slater had efforts for the visitors, while at the other end, a neat interchange in the area between Bollado and Storey, culminated in Storey's shot which was just wide of the upright.
For Percy Main, the hard working, Robert Hamilton who had another impressive game in his side's midfield, (and went home with a bagful of raffle prizes and drunk more beer than anybody else after the match, for a change...) found himself yellow carded.
Main substitute Ronan Attwood who put in a useful shift as a second half replacement for Bollado, tested Lumsden and ultimately provided the ammunition for the equaliser as his free kick on 76 minutes from wide out right, somehow evaded all except the handily placed James Leggett at the far post who was left with the relatively easy task of slotting home into an empty net.
The home side pressed in the dying moments, but were unable to find the winning goal as Lumsden was equal to attempts from Armstrong and Jake Forster.
'Man of the Match' or 'Woman of the Match' was Julie Hurd who superbly crafted the cordon bleu, after match bait, using the new kitchen 'equipment' without setting anything on fire, electrocuting herself or anybody else, nothing went 'bang' while all the lights and everything else surprisingly stayed on. The sausages were nice and there were enough chips to sink a battleship!
So that was a bonus!
Ashington Colliers at home next Saturday.......