Alnwick Town Reserves 3 Ponteland United 5 Archers of Blyth George Dobbins League Cup, Round One
ON a beautiful, warm autumnal day at St James’ Park, in Alnwick, there were plenty of goals as Ponteland progressed to the next round of the League Cup.
With both Armstrong and Scott unavailable, Ponteland cricketer Parker was brought in for his first start of the season.
United started brightly and took the lead after only five minutes when Skidmore played a crossfield ball invitingly into the path of L’Argent in an unfamiliar role on the right.
The pace of L’Argent enabled him to reach the ball before both the full back and goalkeeper Fuller and raced past them for a tap into the empty goal.
With an early lead United were playing some good football, with L’Argent, Rae and Rankin linking up well.
On 15 minutes United increased their lead. Teenager Hibbitt sprayed the ball out to the right where the Alnwick keeper, under pressure from L’Argent, failed to deal with it, leaving L’Argent to take advantage of another clear run through to the open goal.
The visitors continued to play some good football and further goals looked inevitable.
They did have a warning on 20 minutes when Blench got caught in possession and the cross found Vickers but his header lacked power and was caught by Blair.
The lively Skidmore for Pont then charged a clearance down and went for goal but his shot just missed the upright.
Skidmore was involved again when he picked up a neat ball from Cook and got to the byline but his cross into the goal area was well saved by Fuller diving low down.
On 34 minutes, Cook’s quick feet took him past his man and slipped the ball past the out-coming goalkeeper into the net. He peeled away celebrating but was denied by a very late flag from the assistant.
One minute later, Alnwick, from almost being 3-0 down, were back in the game. United failed to deal with a long ball forward and their player collided with Blair as he managed to push the ball over the bar.
The referee pointed to the spot and Wallace converted.
Five minutes before half time Collins’ quick feet took him past his man but his rising shot was tipped onto the bar by Fuller.
It had been a fine display by Ponteland in the first half but rather than being safely into the hat for the next round of the cup the lead was slender. However, it didn’t take long for United to increase their lead.
On 50 minutes, Cook turned his man quickly in the box and fired past Fuller. Three minutes later he knocked the ball down into the path of Collins who burst forward to clip the ball over the keeper to give United the comfort their play justified.
The hosts did not let their heads drop and with half an hour remaining, a free kick by Wallace found Vickers unmarked in front of goal to pull one goal back. Wallace then saw a shot deflected for a corner as the home team kept up the pressure.
However, they were knocked back on 70 minutes when Anderson, on for Skidmore, jinked his way down the left before delivering a inch-perfect cross for L’Argent to head past Fuller for a well-deserved hat-trick to make it 5-2 to Pont.
Wright then replaced Cook and L’Argent made way for Powell.
Wright was quickly involved, first charging down a clearance and from a tight angle he just missed the far upright. He was then brought down as he slipped his man for what looked a stone-wall penalty but the referee’s view was obscured.
Alnwick still contributed to this fine game and a cross from the right by substitute Robertson was headed wide by the dangerous Vickers.
United were still creating chances though and Anderson fired over when well placed from Rae’s excellent pull back and then Rankin burst down the right and shot beyond the far post with both Anderson and Wright standing unmarked in front of an empty goal.
The home side then scored their third at the death when three powerful shots were blocked bravely by Blair, Rankin and Jones but Vickers pounced onto the ball when it came loose to fire into the roof of the net.