Pont tumble in feisty encounter

Action from Saturday's game between AFC Newbiggin and Ponteland United (in black and white). Picture by Steve Miller.
Action from Saturday's game between AFC Newbiggin and Ponteland United (in black and white). Picture by Steve Miller.

AFC Newbiggin 3 Ponteland United 2, Northern Football Alliance, Division One

Ponteland were without the injured L’Argent, Rae and Shipley which was further compounded by Jones being away and Hibbitt not 100 per cent fit for the visit to newly promoted Newbiggin.

Thankfully, Scott passed a late fitness test and was restored to the centre of a re-shuffled back-four.

The first 15 minutes was an even contest with Newbiggin having some success down the right but any crosses were being cleared by Scott and Holden filling in at right-back.

After 30 minutes of testing each other, frustrations started to creep into the game with a few niggling tackles, with the home side encouraged by the excitable support from the sidelines.

Pont had a free-kick from just outside the area with Davidson going close but his shot cleared the bar. At the other end, Peacock brought down Ryder but the outcome was similar from the free-kick which also cleared the wall and the crossbar.

Then on 35 minutes, Ryder scythed down Bewley with a late and high tackle which inflamed the situation somewhat until half-time which allowed both teams and spectators to calm down after a feisty and tetchy 10 minutes.

It didn’t take long into the second half before Pont became unsettled yet again.

Rankin won a tackle just outside his area with the ball travelling back to the keeper.

With time available, MacDonald looked up for direction as to whether he could pick the ball up and after hearing a positive response did so.

Newbiggin understandably appealed for a back-pass, which was upheld much to the dismay of the Pont players.

The young keeper will learn from the erroneous decision and not make the same mistake again.

Thankfully, with all players lined up on the goal-line, the free-kick came to nothing, with the shot clearing the bar with margins to spare.

The free-kick decision did, however, unsettle the Pont players unnecessarily and as a result they lost composure and discipline in a frantic 10-minute spell in which they conceded three goals.

Firstly, Humble was allowed to run clear down the right before clipping the ball across the out-rushing MacDonald and into the net on 55 minutes.

Three minutes later, the situation was repeated when Aisbitt out-muscled Peacock and he too scored from a similar angle.

Unbelievably, two minutes later from an identical position Humble cut in from the right and was clipped by the outstretched leg of MacDonald for a penalty.

Having had his name entered into the referee’s book for the cautionable offence MacDonald then saved the spot-kick brilliantly diving to his left.

But, having cleared a corner well upfield, the ball came back from a long punt. MacDonald went to punch clear but was beaten to the ball by Muter who back-headed it over him for number three.

A stunned manager Carr made two changes, bringing on new signings Gary Cook and Cambridge to provide more punch in attack.

This had the desired affect on 73 minutes as substitute Cook chased a ball over the top and managed to get beyond the defence and shoot past keeper Little.

Two minutes later, a comeback was on when Davidson speared a free-kick into the far top corner to give the visitors some encouragement.

Despite a valiant effort at the death, a lack of concentration and wrong decision-making at the start of the second half proved costly for Pont.

Ponteland fared better at home to Newcastle Chemfica a week last Wednesday.

The hosts scored the only goal of the game after 25 minutes. Bewley played the ball out wide to Rankin on the right and his cross found Holden, who dribbled past two defenders before shooting past the keeper.