Under-strength Ponteland call on youngsters to save the day in league

Ponteland United player Wayne Dunn (in black and white) under pressure during the game against Cramlington on Saturday. Picture by Keith Robertson.

Ponteland United player Wayne Dunn (in black and white) under pressure during the game against Cramlington on Saturday. Picture by Keith Robertson.

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Ponteland United 1 Cramlington Town 1 Northern Alliance, Division One

With eight regular players unavailable, United made eight changes for the game at home to Cramlington Town giving debuts to local boys Joe Slade and 16-year-old Ethan Bewley with another 16-year-old Rory Spencer on the bench.

United did, however, welcome back Liam Anderson for a first start of the season after fracturing his wrist in the summer and 17-year-old Wayne Dunn.

These two players were both involved with the first goal when Dunn, on a typical forceful run, found Anderson, who dribbled past a couple of defenders in the Cramlington penalty area before poking the ball past Morton to give Pont the lead after 17 minutes (1-0).

The lead didn’t last long and was cancelled out three minutes later by a spectacular free-kick, which stunned everyone in the ground.

Fully 40 yards from goal, Eastway hit a screamer into the top corner of the net with keeper MacDonald joining the spectators as he watched motionless (1-1).

The first 30 minutes were an even contest with neither goalkeeper being really tested.

Pont’s defence, despite the new faces, were coping well, with Slade in particular having a sound debut alongside Paul Jones. The speed of Cambridge down the right and the tireless running of Dunn and Bewley up-front ensured that the Town back-line didn’t have time on the ball and contrasted nicely with the neat and tidy play of Doyle and Rae in midfield.

With the scores level at half-time, manager Carr must have been pleased with his patched-up side’s performance.

In the first period after half-time, Pont started to get on top. From a free-kick, Cambridge’s header hit the post and bounced out to Skidmore a few yards out, but Morton did well to close him down to block the teenager’s shot before Bewley volleyed over.

Cambridge was causing problems with his speed on either flank with no one quite able to take advantage of his crosses.

With half-an-hour remaining, Pont had the best chance of the game when Doyle played an exquisite free-kick into the path of Bewley, but the youngster elected to shoot with the outside of his right boot and the ball went wide of the post – any contact with his left and the ball was in the net.

Considering the number of enforced changes United had to make, the youngsters took their chance and will give manager Carr another selection headache next Saturday.