Percy Main 4 Ashington Colliers 3
Goals and a good win....
Percy Main gained a valuable 3 points, our first home win since October 28th, but were left to sweat out the closing stages after going in at the break with a seemingly unassailable 3-0 lead which was pegged back by Ashington during the early stages of the second half of the game. Certainly the proverbial 'game of 2 halves' in which those present had plenty to debate, once the final whistle had been sounded.
There were no shortage of goals and this was the 8th game this season that Percy Main had featured, which had seen 7 goals or more scored and only the second time that The Main had won one of those high scoring encounters, following the side's 4-3 Northumberland Senior Bowl win at Prudhoe Town on October 14th.
The Main have traditionally done well against Ashington Colliers,indeed before the current campaign, Percy Main had won 9, drawn 2 and lost only once, during the past 5 seasons that the teams have met in league and cup and at both Purvis Park and Hirst Welfare, but prior to the game The Colliers were undoubtedly the form side having won 4 and drawn 1 from their 5 league games played.
That statistic almost bore fruit with less than 30 seconds on the clock as Ashington's Aidan Lynn had the ball in the Main net, but his strike was eventually ruled out for offside following a lengthy consultation between the referee and his assistant. Those in 'The Kop' also helpfully gave their opinions....
The rest of the half belonged to Percy Main who perhaps played their best football of the season and stamped their authority on the game in emphatic fashion. It was 1-0 in the home side's favour on 8 minutes as Robert Hamilton, released Jake Forster who finished clinically beyond Coliiers goalkeeper Craig Towart.
The experienced visitors goalkeeper was gainfully employed as he saved efforts from Forster again, Steve Hurd from a half cleared free kick and goalbound headers from James Leggett and Hamilton, but there was no surprise when Percy Main doubled their lead on 21 minutes, with the same combination as Hamilton once again impressive in midfield, released Forster who produced an exquisite finish to double his side's lead.
Minutes later, Towart reacted smartly to clear the danger from the feet of Forster, with a sniff of his hat trick, while at the other end, The Main's defence held firm thanks to a vital challenge on the area by Leggett as Ashington's Paul Dunn looked to cash in. Deservedly so and just before the half time whistle, Percy Main went 3 to the good as a clever overhead flick by Jorge Bollado (who will be keen to read all about the game) released Ben Senior and the recent signing from Blyth Spartans lofted the ball over the head of the advancing Towart to give the home side a seemingly unassailable lead.
But Ashington hadn't read the script and threw themselves a lifeline on 54 minutes as substitute David Brown bore down on goal and found himself upended by Leggett, it was a clear cut penalty which saw The Main captain yellow carded for his troubles and Shaun Gibson netted the resultant spot kick. Things got more nervy for The Main 5 minutes later as Gibson centred and Keelan Nellis stooped low to head home his side's second.
Enter Paul Collinson to the fray for Percy Main as a 59th minute replacement for Senior and it took The Main forward only 7 minutes to make his mark as his run into the area was halted by Nellis, the referee awarded a penalty (was it a penalty? Yes it was, said Bully afterwards in the bar after his 3rd can) despite loud protests from the visitors, (and a bit of handbags) but to no avail and Collinson slotted home the spot kick to settle a few nerves in the home camp.
Incredibly those nerves were jingling once more only a minute later as Gibson's free kick was headed home by Nellis and the narrow deficit was one goal once more.
Surprisingly after 4 goals during the opening 20 minutes of the second half, there were to be no more. Ashington's Aidan Lynn headed just wide and Craig Byrne in The Main goal, handled well during the second half, including an impressive take from Brown who appeared the visitors main threat and a Nellis header which failed to beat the home custodian.
Shankhouse away next Saturday.....