United breeze past 10-man Shankhouse

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Shankhouse 0 Ponteland United 4 Northern Alliance, Premier Division

AFTER last week’s success at home to Murton, manager Suddick named an unchanged side for the visit to Shankhouse.

The pitch at Northburn was the best it’s been in recent years and although slippy in places had dried considerably after a couple of days of welcome sunshine.

The first half was very competitive with Shankhouse in a determined mood and the match was interrupted with a series of free-kicks, which disrupted any pattern of play.

Havelock produced a fine save to tip a 25-yard free-kick from Steven Thornton for the hosts around the post for a corner. Ponteland cleared the corner but it went out wide to Paul Armstrong on the right and his cross found three players unmarked at the far post but the header went wide and the opportunity lost.

At the other end, Gavin Wood advanced down the centre and evaded two tackles to gain a shooting opportunity but fired wide of the goal with Davidson well-placed to his left.

Shankhouse pressed without creating too many opportunities and a misdirected pass by Hodgson went to James Armstrong but Dummett retrieved the situation for the visitors with a fine, well-timed tackle as the wingman was heading towards goal.

Ponteland, with the speed and tenacity of Dunn upfront, looked dangerous on the break. After 25 minutes, it was Ponteland who took the lead with another trademark free-kick from Davidson.

Wood was brought down 22 yards from goal and Davidson curled his free-kick wide of the wall and past keeper Peters to finish low down in the corner.

Shortly afterwards, Shankhouse front-man Michael Bell drilled a right-foot drive just past Havelock’s upright.

Fifteen minutes before half-time, a poor clearance from Peters went straight to Dunn and the striker attacked the defence before releasing Davidson overlapping down the left.

A goal looked inevitable and although his shot beat Peters, it also went wide of the far post. Ponteland was finishing the half the stronger and Dunn hit a snap-shot wide of the target and centre-back Ford, up for a corner, had two fierce volleys and a header blocked in a crowded goalmouth in the space of ten seconds.

It only took three minutes of the second half for Ponteland to increase their lead with the best move of the match so far.

Full-back Dummett fed Davidson down the left and he quickly released Dunn, racing down the wing. The speedy front-man beat Armstrong and went to the by-line before cutting the ball back into the path of Davidson following up in support.

Peters did well to stop Davidson’s shot but the ball rebounded to Wood, who gratefully fired the ball into the roof of the net. With the pressure now off, Ponteland started to relax and play some neat football.

Matters got worse for Shankhouse when Paul Armstrong was shown a red card for verbal abuse towards the referee to the surprise of all.

The dismissal took the spirit out of home team as Ponteland made full use of the extra man, but it was Shankhouse who scored the third goal after 65 minutes.

Unfortunately, Richard Atkinson headed John Redhead’s cross past his own keeper into the net.

Five minutes later, Ponteland scored again through Sean Willis, who had now moved to the left-wing.

He collected Ford’s pass and went down the line before cutting infield and evading two defenders before unleashing a superb 25-yard strike, which flew into the roof of the net with Peters helpless.