Gateshead Rutherford 2 Percy Main 4
Worth that battle through the tea time traffic!
For the first season in many a year, Percy Main have a better away record than our home showings at the famed fortress and theatre of dreams, that is Purvis Park and that statistic continued last night as The Main recorded a 6th league away win of the season and 8th all told, at Rutherford's expense, although a few hours before kick off that prospect seemed highly unlikely.
With a raft of injuries and other absentees due to work and other things, it appeared that The Main would struggle to assemble 11 fit blokes, a worrying thought that had youthful team manager Stephen Hurd, calling for his well worn studded size 9's mid-afternoon. But in the end, there was no need to worry and although the bench contained mainly the walking wounded and Robert Hamilton played the 90 while not fully fit, it was a welcome 3 point return for the Percy lads.
There was a deserved hat trick for Paul Collinson whose goalscoring tally now reads an impressive 13 goals from 12 appearances and he troubled the home defence throughout and well deserved his 'Man of the Match' accolade, post match hot dog and chips and beers, while Chris Hamilton got himself off the mark with a well taken second half goal, on only his second run out for the club, which restored the visitors lead.
That said, Rutherford enjoyed the bulk of the play during the second half, but were unable to add to the scoring and themselves had to play with 10 men from the 80th minute following an injury to defender Lee Watson and his subsequent withdrawal.
Rutherford almost broke the deadlock early on as Callum Moore's shot was turned around the post by Craig Byrne in the Main goal, while the home side also struck the crossbar, just past the quarter hour mark, in an effort which was flagged up for offside.
James Walker had Percy Main's first attempt on 18 minutes which was well wide, but the same player found Collinson with a long through ball, who outwitted his marker and produced a clinical finish not the bottom corner 3 minutes later. But as so many times this season, the lead was not to last and Rutherford were level a couple of minutes later as Stephen Mathews espied Byrne slightly off his line and his chip from the edge of the area, just beat the goalkeeper who got his hands to it, but was unable to prevent the home equaliser.
It was all go and we then saw the 3rd goal within a 6 minute spell as The Main regained the lead. Jake Forster played in Collinson who was upended in the area and the same forward dusted himself down and despatched the resultant penalty in some style.
Half an hour in and Percy Main endeavoured to extend their lead as James Leggett played in Collinson whose shot was blocked on the line, handball was the cry, but the unsighted referee waved play on. After Walker saw his free kick saved by Rutherford custodian Richard Heiniger and his opposite number Byrne saved from Thomas Young, Rutherford equalised for the second time in the game as a long throw caught the visitors defence napping and Mathews shot was deflected into his own net by the unfortunate Walton.
Not long after the restart, Percy Main were back in front as great play by Collinson, left the home defence bamboozled and his neat lay off to Chris Hamilton was clinically fired into the bottom corner of the net. There could've been another minutes later as Heiniger rushed from his area to kick clear from Forster, but the emphasis switched to the other end and Percy Main's slender lead was preserved by Robert Hamilton who bravely blocked Dylan Howourth's effort on the line and away for a corner.
For the home side, Luke Watson and Mathews again went close, but Percy Main made things safe with a 4th on 82 minutes as Forster down the right flank found Ryan Richardson who touched on to Collinson and there was only going to be one outcome after that. The dying minutes saw Collinson, still looking dangerous, fire narrowly too high, Forster headed over from Ronan Attwood's centre and Forster again, just failed to get on the end of another Attwood cross in injury time.
Northbank away in Saturday, 11:15 meet for the bus at Percy, don't be late!