Ponteland United 3 Blyth Town 1 Northern Football Alliance, Premier Division
UNITED were able to call upon Ford, McIvor and Dummett for this fixture and the three experienced players made an impact in the game, giving Ponteland some strength, physical presence and composure in what is a difficult season for the team.
Ford, in the centre of defence, dominated throughout and didn’t miss a header all afternoon.
On 10 minutes, McIvor hit the bar with a long free-kick but it bounced away to safety. Then a misdirected pass by Flynn, playing in an unfamiliar left-wing position, allowed Blyth to break down the right but Ford managed to get back and clear the danger.
The opening 20 minutes was end-to-end without any real threat on either goal.
A long clearance by Pont’s keeper Carter was headed on by Wood into the path of Holden, who sped towards goal.
It took a strong but fair timely intervention from centre-back Lee Barnes to thwart the nippy forward.
Both sides were contributing to a fine game of football.
On 35 minutes, United got their noses in front when Dunn released Holden, running beyond the defence, and, with the goalkeeper advancing towards him and under pressure from the defenders, he fired past keeper Scott Earl.
Shortly afterwards, Blyth had a loud appeal for a penalty but the referee wasn’t interested and waved play on.
However, two minutes before the interval, Blyth did get a penalty.
The visitors were inside the Ponteland penalty area and some stout defending by Ford and Rankin blocked goalbound shots before the ball bounced clear to Dan Dunn who looked to be clearing the danger but an unfortunate bounce caused him to handle the ball.
David Atkinson made no mistake, firing to the keeper’s right. Half-time with honours even and all to play for in the second half.
Nine minutes into the second half Ponteland had a strong appeal for a penalty themselves when the industrious Holden chased a through-ball over the top and the keeper took him out. To the crowd’s dismay, the referee ignored the appeals.
This seemed to spur the black and whites on and, a minute later, they got the goal their play deserved.
McIvor played a lofted ball towards Flynn on the left and the tall wingman headed it into the path of Holden, who unexpectedly shot early and rifled the ball into the roof of the net.
The centre-forward then almost scored his hat-trick after the best move of the game involving Wood, McIvor and Dunn but this time, when one-on-one with the keeper, Earl just managed to deflect the shot with his knees to safety.
Blyth had rarely threatened in the second half but Robinson had a chance from a corner by Atkinson but he headed over the bar.
Holden was in the thick of things and causing Blyth all kinds of trouble with his tenacity. A weak clearance from Earl was collected by the impressive Wood who played in Holden.
He rounded the defender but his shot just hit the outside of the post.
With ten minutes to go, Pont got a penalty when Holden was grabbed around the neck as he slipped his defender.
Teenager Matthew Robinson took responsibility and fired powerfully past Earl to give United some breathing space and keep their recent undefeated run going.