Percy Main 1 Ponteland United 2
First league defeat of the new year....
Percy Main were left with nothing to show for their efforts as Ponteland, with only 2 league defeats to their name all season, deservedly took the points at Purvis Park, but the final outcome may have been different as what looked like a push on The Main's Adam Green in the area went unpunished in what turned out to be the very last action of the contest.
Ponteland for their part, have defeated Percy Main on the last 4 occasions that the sides have met, although they were perhaps fortunate to win through by the odd goal in 7 in a highly entertaining game at their Leisure Centre base on November 4th in which Jonny Storey had netted a hat trick for The Vilagers, but still found himself on the losing side. This time around, mainly due to player unavailability, a distinct lack of forwards meant that Paul Collinson had to manfully plough a lone furrow in the home side's attack.
The visitors stated their intentions from the off and perhaps should have gone ahead in the second minute as Reece Havelock-Brown's cross from the right, evaded all and was scooped against the crossbar by Alex Benjamin from close range, when he looked odds on to score.
The action continued in The Main's final third, minutes later the experienced Benjamin turned and fired just past the post and Havelock-Brown's shot was just over the angle, while at the other end, Percy Main's Jake Forster tried a speculative long distance effort from wide on the right which had Ponteland custodian Craig Whinham back pedalling to avert the danger.
The deadlock was broken on 20 minutes in Ponteland's favour and it saw Benjamin atone for his earlier miss, as Sam White's ball into the area found Benjamin who was bundled over by Craig Byrne in the home goal and a penalty was awarded. On that earlier occasion in November, Byrne had saved a penalty taken by Benjamin, but history was not to repeat itself as the visitors forward confidently despatched the spot kick.
Towards the end of the half, Collinson saw an effort from Rob Watson's corner blocked, but 5 minutes after the interval, Ponteland doubled their lead through Sam McLellan who took advantage of slack defending to slot the ball home past the dive of Byrne.
That lead was soon halved as Jack Armstrong was deemed to have been fouled and another penalty was awarded, this time in The Main's favour and it was Collinson who stepped up to fire the ball home. The goal inspired the home side who almost equalised as Armstrong was fouled on the edge of the area and Forster's measured free kick was met by Robert Hamilton, who directed his diving header just last the far post.
In between Byrne had saved from Ponteland substitute Andrew Carr and The Main's James Leggett did well to clear the danger from Chris Hibbitt, as White's corner threatened the home defence.
The last moment of the game had seen the home side push on and when substitute Green burst into the area, it appeared that he was bundled to the ground from behind, the unsighted referee checked with his well placed assistant who deemed the challenge to be legal and a third penalty of the game was denied.
Newbiggin away next Saturday.......