Ponteland United 1 Bedlington Terriers Reserves 5 Division One
After the disappointing resignation of Forest Hall from the Northern Alliance and their results being expunged from league records, it left United still looking for their first win of the season as they entertained Bedlington Terriers Reserves.
The visitors started the stronger, pushing United on the back foot from the outset and, after 10 minutes, they scored when Rankin failed to deal with a cross from the right and the ball dropped nicely into the path of Jon Eke 20 yards from goal.
The midfielder drilled his shot into the bottom corner.
On 20 minutes, another defensive error again handed the initiative to Terriers when a trip in the box allowed Mogwo to shoot calmly bome from the penalty spot.
Terriers were having it far too easy with Pont’s midfield unable to get any control in the game, so much so that the defence was always under pressure. Blair made a double save to deny Donahoe but, five minutes before half-time, the same player was allowed a clear run through the United defence to side-foot past Blair to put his side firmly in control.
The scoreline could have been worse were it not for Blair bringing off another save to thwart Robbie Eastway. It was a disappointing first-half performance by the home side, which lost its shape, didn’t track runners and paid the penalty.
Manager Havelock made a change at half-time altering the formation and bringing on Collins for Hibbitt in midfield. Certainly Collins’ more physical presence made a difference and he started to drive United forward.
Fifteen minutes into the half, he played a through-ball to Rankin but keeper Whitmore just got there before the overlapping full-back.
Powell then played a ball through to Collins who used his strength to create a shooting opportunity but his shot lacked any power to trouble Whitmore.
Good interplay between Anderson and Cook created an opportunity for Davidson but he chose to cut inside rather than shoot and the chance was lost. Bedlington then went upfield and in a bizarre moment, everyone stopped for offside but the home club assistant never flagged and the ball finished in the back of the net with 25 minutes still remaining.
It got worse for Ponteland three minutes later when Donahue scored the best goal of the game, turning quickly onto a pass from Mogwo and firing into the far corner from 22 yards. The game was now well and truly over and as Bedlington took their foot of the pedal United did start to play some football but it was far too late.
With 20 minutes remaining, Cook, ten yards from goal and no one in front of him other than the keeper, fell to the ground under a challenge from behind but the referee wasn’t interested.
Two minutes later, Cook did pull one back when Anderson having been put clear by Rankin slipped the ball to his strike partner for a tap in.
This was a horror story and setback for the Pont lads and, while the second half was much better, they must now regroup and graft for each other to get a win under their belts. Next Saturday, they make a return journey to Wooler to defend their trophy in the first round of the Combination Cup.