Newcastle University 3 Ponteland United 1Northern Alliance, Division One
United’s inconsistent season continued in this game against a very fit and mobile University side.
Teenager Wayne Dunn was brought into the side to join Dan Wright upfront, adding much-needed pace to the attack. They replaced the injured Paul Hodgson and unavailable Liam Anderson. Josh Peacock came in at full-back after being away on business for three weeks.
In the first 15 minutes, United did okay, forcing several corners, but also had to be thankful to keeper Bowey-Tyler, who pulled off a fine save, pushing a ball away from the danger zone and, when the cross came in, Joey Laver headed wide.
On 25 minutes, luck went with the students when a clearance from Jones unfortunately hit fellow defender Jack L’Argent and dropped kindly into the path of Tom Espin, who ran to the by-line before crossing the ball to Laver for a simple tap-in (1-0).
This unsettled Ponteland and affected their performance both individually and collectively as the students imposed themselves with their movement and speed.
However, 10 minutes before half-time L’Argent played a long ball down the left for the energetic Dunn.
He battled tenaciously for the ball and then cut inside before releasing Wright, running beyond the defence to steer the ball past the advancing keeper Readman for the equaliser (1-1).
Three minutes later, United again had to thank Bowey-Tyler when he denied Laver from close range.
With half-time approaching and having weathered the storm, United shot themselves in the foot.
Firstly, Hibbitt, receiving a throw from Bowey-Tyler, got caught in possession and was robbed in a central position 25 yards from goal, which exposed the defence. Again the ball fell kindly, this time to Laver to run in on goal and fire past Bowey-Tyler for his second of the game (2-1).
The situation got worse for Pont three minutes later and two minutes before half-time when Potts and Bowey-Tyler challenged Knusden simultaneously, which ended with the student colliding with the two players and the referee pointing to the spot.
Jonny Sexton made no mistake to give the students a clear lead at half-time (3-1).
Further trouble occurred for Ponteland shortly into the second half.
Potts was clearly struggling following the collision involving the penalty but bravely struggled on. Despite the injury, he ran almost half the length of the field to get in a last-ditch tackle on the pacy Salisbury.
With half-an-hour remaining, United gave a debut to Kevin Fairley on the right to form a three-pronged attack to try to get something out of the game.
With 20 minutes remaining, Potts eventually had to leave the field and was replaced by Davidson. Clark came on for Malia in midfield.
The students, however, were too much for Pont on the day and safely saw the game out. United lacked the composure in midfield of captain Steve Rae and found difficulty for the second week running in establishing any form of control to create many opportunities for the front men.