Weakened Pont drop two points

Ponteland United 2 Gosforth Bohemians 2 Northern Alliance, Division One

AFTER bouncing back from an opening-day defeat with victory in midweek, Ponteland had to make enforced changes for the visit of Gosforth Bohemians on Saturday as Jarvis-Smith, Rae, Cook and Jones were all unavailable.

On a very warm day, both sides looked to play good passing football with the hosts, in particular, holding onto the ball well and spraying it around the pitch. Bohemians looked dangerous on the break with the speedy Campbell upfront looking impressive.

Both goalkeepers had little to do until on 25 minutes when, after a neat build-up, Paul Hodgson, on his return to the club, decided to let fly from 25 yards with a firmly-struck shot which flew into the net, giving keeper Wilkinson no chance.

Pont then looked in control of the game but, on 35 minutes, Campbell tried his own luck shooting from just outside the area, which the normally-reliable Blair could only palm into the air and instead of going over the bar, the ball dropped behind him and into goal.

Half-time came with the scores even and neither side really threatening in front of goal.

Five minutes after the restart, Ponteland had a great opportunity. Findlay dinked a ball through to Anderson but the goalkeeper came out well to save with his legs. The ball rebounded to Holden who lobbed the keeper only to see his shot drift agonisingly wide of the goal.

The move was repeated ten minutes later when this time, Armstrong played in Holden but again the keeper came out quickly to thwart the striker, who recovered quickly only to see another left-foot lob drift marginally wide of the post.

Despite United having most of the possession it was the visitors who unexpectedly took the lead on 65 minutes. With Ponteland pressing, a shot from 20 yards was charged down and the ball broke upfield to the dangerous Campbell.

He ran down the left before crossing the ball to the right, where Hewitt, running gallantly in support, forced the ball past the exposed Blair.

Andrew Davidson recovering from injury came on for Hodgson and Sanderson for Findlay. Davidson quickly made his presence felt looking to create an opening. However, apart from Holden no-one was threatening the Bohemians’ goal and the game looked to be drifting away from Pont.

With 10 minutes remaining, Holden cut in from the left and fired into the box with the ball hitting the hand of the defender. A similar incident had occurred minutes earlier but on this occasion the referee – somewhat harshly for the away side – pointed to the spot.

Davidson collected the ball and confidently drove it into the roof of the net to level the scores. Blair pulled off a fine save towards the end but wasn’t to know the assistant referee had already raised his flag for offside.

Bohemians had competed well and worked hard in an entertaining game of football and went away with a share of the points, whereas Pont, for all their possession, will feel this was two points dropped.

The conditions were very different last Wednesday (August 15) as the match at home to Gateshead Redheugh was played in torrential rain.

United went ahead after 35 minutes from an unlikely source. Rankin, playing right midfield, cut inside to collect a throughball from Jarvis-Smith and despite being a long way from goal took his shot early, which surprised the advancing keeper, and the ball finished in the back of the net.

Ten minutes into the second half, Ponteland increased their lead when Anderson made no mistake as he got on the end of a Paul Jones cross to clip the ball into the net.

This should have been sufficient to finish off the game but to their credit the strong Gateshead Redheugh side didn’t give up and started to create their own opportunities. United had to thank keeper Blair on a couple of occasions but with five minutes remaining and the rain at long last abating, he couldn’t prevent the visitors’ captain King finishing a fine move for a nervous last few minutes.

But the home side held on for a 2-1 victory.