Clinical Tulip keeps Pont in front

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Wark 1 Ponteland United 3 Northern Football Alliance Premier Division

IT took only eight minutes for Ponteland to take the lead in this encounter and it was hot-shot Harry Tulip who fired the black and whites in front after a good interchange down the right between John Redhead and Gavin Wood.

Redhead’s cross was met by Tulip at the near-post, firing low down past keeper Walton.

The striker had another opportunity shortly afterwards when he received the ball following Davidson’s free-kick but on this occasion his shot from a tight angle was blocked by Walton.

Wark’s first real opportunity was from a cross by Anderson but the header by an unmarked Thomas McAlindon went straight into the arms of Pont keeper Havelock.

On 20 minutes, Ponteland had a strong appeal for a penalty dismissed by the referee.

A cross by Davidson was flicked on by Tulip to Wood, who was charged in the back just as he was about to shoot on goal.

Ponteland had a further strong appeal turned down when Gate was brought down collecting an excellent through-ball from Dummett. Wark’s better chances were coming from set-pieces.

A free-kick from Telfer was headed behind for a corner, from which centre-back John Famelton headed wide under pressure from Glenn Ford.

Pont were creating the better opportunities and another flowing move involving Davidson, Tulip and Gate ended with the latter having a shot on goal when Willis to his right and unmarked was perhaps a better option.

Wark continued to look for a break-through but the dangerous Stuart Brown on the left was at too tight an angle to trouble Havelock who saved at his near-post but at the expense of a corner.

Pont, however, were coping well with the set-pieces with Ford and Phillips dominant at the heart of the defence.

On 40 minutes, the visitors showed their danger.

A long clearance by Ford was collected by Wood and he helped the ball on into the path of Tulip. The latter used his pace to get beyond the defence and volleyed the ball over the stranded keeper.

Three minutes later, the in-form striker again got beyond the defence and despatched the ball left-footed clinically past Walton to give himself a first-half hat-trick and the league leaders a cushion.

Ten minutes into the second half, Wark gave themselves hope when Dale Telfer cut inside Hodgson and curled a shot past Havelock into the top corner.

Wark sensed a recovery but were denied by Havelock who saved a point-blank effort.

Wark maintained the pressure in the second half as they searched bravely for a second goal. Their best chance fell to McAlindon who volleyed well over the bar following a long throw into the box.

Wark continued to apply the pressure and Gate had to clear Famelton’s knock-down header.

But Ponteland weathered the storm and gradually took command again. Davidson was just over with a free-kick from 25 yards and Tulip miss-controlled a terrific ball from Dummett when well placed.

Wark’s last chance fell to Brown who took advantage of Phillips’ slip but his shot went high over the bar.

The match was decided by the clinical finishing of Tulip. Despite a determined second-half performance from Wark, Ponteland stood firm, with Ford and Phillips outstanding at the back and Harry Tulip an honest hard-worker upfront who deserved his hat-trick and a man-of-the-match award.