Ponteland United 0 Heaton Stannington 3 Les Todd NFA Senior Benevolent Bowl Final
PONTELAND had done extremely well to reach the final of this competition, but they faced a tough task against the current leaders of the Premier Division, Heaton Stannington.
United were at full strength for this midweek match after Daniel Wright, L’Argent and Scott came through late fitness tests before the game.
They started quite well but Heaton’s Jonathon Wright, no relation to Dan, gave immediate notice of his scoring abilities when he raced into the danger zone to collect a pull back from the bye line and hit a shot with power past keeper Taylor with only five minutes on the clock.
Heaton were buzzing and shortly afterwards they took a quick free kick following a foul by Hodgson down the wing and again Jonathon Wright was ready but this time Peter Scott got in a good block to deny the striker.
Pont did well on 20 minutes to force a corner following good interplay between Kent and Holden. Hodgson’s corner was delivered in the right area but went straight through all the bodies for a goal kick.
Scott managed to clear a chipped pass for Jonathon Wright for a corner and from Johnson’s delivery, captain Joseph Wear for Heaton headed over.
As the half progressed, Ponteland were improving and on the half hour mark confidently played the ball around inside the Stannington half with Armstrong, Kent and Holden all involved before Rae was fouled just outside the box. Hodgson’s side foot free kick didn’t cause experienced keeper Backhouse any problems and he collected easily.
But they were struck a body blow two minutes before half time and it was Jonathon Wright again who caused the damage.
Collecting a long ball upfront on his chest he turned and moved out to his left before hitting a powerful shot from just outside the area. Unfortunately for Pont, the ball took a wicked deflection off Armstrong and left keeper Taylor stranded.
At the start of the second half, United nearly pulled one back when Kent received the ball at the back post and played it in front of goal but strong defending held off Dan Wright’s challenge and the danger was cleared. His namesake at the other end then surprisingly missed the best opportunity of the game.
Pont kept pressing and for a good 20-minute spell in the middle of the half they played some good stuff and were the better team, with Rae as usual working tirelessly in midfield driving the team forward.
Kent played a good ball down the line to Dan Wright who sped for goal, but McGarrigal got in a great challenge to block the striker’s shot. The goal United badly needed to get back into this game wouldn’t come and despite some excellent play they never really troubled Heaton keeper Backhouse.
As usually happens in pressing forwards, they left the back door open. Armstrong moved forward to try and create an opportunity but when the move broke down the ball was cleared to another speed merchant in substitute Johnson.
He received the ball down the left, sped towards the penalty area and cut inside before finding fellow substitute Carr, who scored with almost his first touch by wrong footing Taylor. The third goal was a little harsh on the Pont lads and it was the end of their brave challenge.
l On Saturday, Ponteland returned to league action and lost 2-1 away at Newcastle University.
On ten minutes, Holden was brought down as he advanced towards goal and the striker got up to smack the penalty down the middle to give United the lead.
The university side equalised on 30 minutes when Southgate rifled in a powerful drive from distance and they got the winning goal from a Sexton penalty with two minutes remaining.