New Fordley 0 Ponteland United 5 Northern Alliance, Nike First Division
United returned to league action after last week’s postponement at Blyth Isabella and made enforced changes due to the absence of Peter Scott on holiday, injuries to Chris Hibbitt and Ian Mulroy and both Ethen Bewley and Wayne Dunn still suspended.
New signing Jack Davidson was given his debut, with teenager Tom Liddle retaining his place after an encouraging substitutes appearance a couple of weeks ago.
New Fordley were also without their leading marksman, Zak Tully, due to suspension.
As both teams tested each other in the opening minutes, on a difficult pitch, United nearly shot themselves in the foot.
Slade unusually played a couple of loose passes inside 10 minutes with both almost gifting the hosts goal opportunities.
Thankfully both Spencer and Jones reacted quickly and averted any danger with blocked tackles.
On eight minutes, United showed their own capabilities as an attacking force.
Bewley with natural individual skill worked himself into a shooting opportunity and his low shot came back off ‘keeper Nairn into the path of Holden.
The keeper made amends with a brave and terrific block on Holden’s effort, turning the ball away for a corner.
From Bewley’s corner Holden stretching headed just over the bar.
At the other end, Matthew Middleton showed some trickery himself down the right turning in, and then out, before firing over the bar from a decent position.
The opening goal came on 15 minutes.
Cook played a short corner to Bewley who ran along the goal line before firing into the net from a tight angle.
Bewley was involved with almost everything from the start and from his free kick on 20 minutes, L’Argent clipped the ball with the outside of his left foot, but wide of the upright.
However, on 25 minutes Bewley took another free kick into the goal area.
Fordley were having difficulty clearing, and the ball came back from defenders on the line to Jones, whose powerful shot was also blocked and into the air.
Holden was first to react and jumped over some outstretched bodies to shoot home.
At this stage United were good value for their lead and looked dangerous every time they went forward.
Davidson on his debut had slotted well into midfield doing a holding role allowing Bewley, Holden and L’Argent the freedom to get forward and support Cook and Cambridge.
On the half-hour mark, neat play between Bewley and Cook ended with Cook getting free, but his shot from just outside the area sailed high and wide.
Moments later the striker had another good chance when he ran beyond his marker and collected a long ball from Spencer on the half volley, with the intention of rounding the keeper in one movement.
His first touch and control was perhaps too good, and too near, to the out coming keeper who dived at his feet to collect.
Half-time came with United deservedly two goals in fron,t with their attacking players, especially Bewley, creating problems for the hosts defence.
Fordley started well in the second half and it took a good block by Slade, who had overcome his nervy first five minutes of the game to stop them scoring
It wasn’t long before Pont were again creating problems.
Ten minutes into the half good play between Bewley and Cook ended with the latter through on goal, but his shot was tipped over the bar for a corner.
From the resultant corner Bewley picked out the run of Slade inside the goal area for the full-back to head past a helpless Nairn.
Fordley kept going and their attacker Matthew Middleton forced Chris Walker to tip his left foot-rising drive over the bar, but these penetrations were far and few between as Pont were now in firm control.
Cambridge, who hasn’t played much football lately, was having a fine game but he took a knock and on the hour mark was replaced by player manager Rae.
Teenager Liddle, who was also having a fine game, found Bewley down the left. The striker cut inside his man before trying an audacious chip which cleared the keeper but also the crossbar.
Bewley had dribbled past players at will all afternoon, and on 65 minutes once again got behind the defence and to the byline before cutting the ball back into the danger area, but the ball hit a defender and went out for a corner.
United then brought off debutant Davidson to give a run out for substitute goalkeeper Stu Taylor who has a habit of scoring goals when he comes on.
He didn’t disappoint. With 10 minutes remaining he was at the back post to head Bewley’s inch perfect cross past Nairn.
Six minutes later, Pont went nap when Stevie Rae received a ball just outside the penalty area.
He dribbled past two defenders and when he was tripped for what looked like a penalty, he managed to flick the ball wide to Gary Cook who took one touch before firing powerfully past Nairn.
There had been some good performances for Pont this afternoon, but they have it all to do next week when the two teams meet again, this time at Ponteland Leisure Centre, in the semi-final of the Bluefin Sport Bill Gardner Cup.