Shankhouse 1 Percy Main 2
A great win in tough conditions.
Never an easy place to get a result, Percy Main Amateurs came away from Shankhouse's appropriately named Action Park in Dudley, with a well deserved win to extend their impressive start to the year with 3 wins and a draw. The Main had been beaten on their last 3 visits to Shankhouse and had to think back to May 13th 2013, when goals by Mark Richardson and Jevan Jull had given The Villagers a similar 2-1 success, but the home side would have been encouraged by their 3-0 win at Purvis Park in the corresponding league game at Purvis Park back in August.
The morning's rain had put the game in an element of doubt, but a 1pm inspection by the match referee deemed the surface to be heavy but playable and ultimately both sides deserved credit for their efforts to create an entertaining spectacle in difficult conditions.
Main manager Steve Hurd rung the changes and with once again a large squad at his disposal, made 6 changes to the starting eleven which had seen off Northbank Carlisle 7 days previous. In came Adam Green now clear from injury along with James Leggett in the back 4, Dan Hadfield and Joe Rowan, making only his second start, were added to the midfield, while in the forward line Jorge Bollado partnered Paul Collinson and it was the latter who won the game for the visitors with a well taken brace, taking his tally for the season to 6 goals from 5 appearances.
The opening exchanges of the game saw both sides endeavour to adapt and it was Shankhouse who came the closest as Chris Marshall headed into the hands of Rob Rodgerson in The Main's goal and just past the quarter hour mark the same forward, rounded the goalkeeper, but was thwarted by a superb last ditch tackle by Green. It had been from a quick break from defence and was seen as a warning for the Percy Main defence, who were adamant to a man that Marshall had been clearly offside.
Rowan looked to make an impression down the right flank and he saw his goalbound effort deflected behind for a corner, but his persistence was rewarded on 27 minutes as he threaded an inch perfect through ball for Collinson to fasten onto and the forward duly out ran his marker before slotting the ball past the dive of Bobby Joyce in the Shankhouse goal.
Ben Turnbull for Shankhouse saw an effort blocked by Dan Hadfield, but the home side hit back and levelled in first half stoppage time as Turnbull's free kick from the left flank, returned into the area and headed clear from the line by Bollado, was returned and finally headed home by Lewis Marshall. It was more or less the last action of the half and gave both sides something to think about during the interval.
Both goalkeepers were tested during the early moments of the second half as Joyce was equal to Jack Armstrong's effort from outside the area and at the other end Joel Arnold headed into the grateful hands of Rodgerson.
As Percy Main looked to re establish their lead, Armstrong's centre from the left flank, helped on by Collinson fell to Robert Hamilton whose 25 yard piledriver cleared Joyce's crossbar, but that second goal duly arrived on 56 minutes as a long throw from Armstrong, helped on into the area, fell to Collinson who made no mistake from close range.
It as no more than The Main deserved and they looked to press home their advantage and add a third to give themselves breathing space, but the home goal somehow survived a desperate scramble inside he 6 yard box from Rob Watson's corner, Hamilton's low drive was dealt with competently by Joyce and Bollado's cross from the right, just evaded the onrushing Collinson.
As has been proved so often this season, a single goal lead is a slender one and Shankhouse exerted a spell of pressure as Marshall found himself crowded out by the home defence, Oliver Young played in Josh Murphy at the far post, whose shot was narrowly off target and in between Marshall's low shot forced Rodgerson to go full length.
Steve Hurd and Jack Armstrong found themselves in the referee's notebook who could have perhaps added a few more during the 90 minutes, (95 minutes in fact) while both sides took it in turns to be baffled and exasperated by one or two decisions which were made by the officials.
This time, The Main's defence held firm and there was to be no further addition to the scoring.....