Seaton Delaval 5 Ponteland United 3 Northern Football Alliance, Premier Division
ON a beautiful day for playing football, the two teams fielded no fewer than 11 teenagers with seven of them in the Ponteland line-up.
The visitors continued to be without injured captain Dean Gate, with John Dunn and Max Turner suspended.
The match started brightly, with Delaval looking the most threatening in the early stages, Daniel McGuire showing excellent skills on the ball and the pace of Salim looking menacing down the left.
McGuire skipped through the Ponteland defence to create a good shooting opportunity for himself but he blasted straight at keeper Blair.
Salim got into a couple of good positions but lost composure at the critical time, although from one cross, Chris Flynn had to clear the ball off the goalline.
However, on 10 minutes, it was Ponteland who made the break-through in what was possibly their first attack. Hodgson did well down the right and his cross was headed firmly into the net by Liam Anderson for his first goal in a Ponteland shirt (0-1).
Delaval continued to look dangerous, though, particularly down their left flank and it wasn’t long before they were level albeit somewhat fortuitously. They won a corner on 15 minutes and the miss-hit kick went all along the ground which deceived the visitors’ defence and ran uncleared into the goal-mouth until Paul Katz gleefully fired home (1-1).
McGuire and Salim continued to look the most likely to add to the scoreline but Ponteland gradually came more into the game and had a good 15-minute spell as their youngsters became more comfortable with the pace of the game.
Seven minutes before half-time, Pont went behind from another corner down the left.
This time, the cross was perfect and found centre-back Daniel Thompson unmarked to power a bullet header into the roof of the net (2-1).
Undeterred, Ponteland went forward and almost immediately equalised with a wonder strike from captain Paul Hodgson.
He drove forward through midfield and his sweetly-struck drive from 30 yards flew into the top corner, giving keeper Harrison no chance (2-2).
It was a thoroughly entertaining game, with the impartial observer unsure which way the game would go.
Ponteland never quite got started in the second half and before they knew it, they had conceded two more goals in quick succession.
Firstly on 55 minutes, the exciting McGuire drove forward, not for the first time and a couple of body-swerves sent the Ponteland defence the wrong way before he fired unerringly past Blair (3-2).
Two minutes later, Salim latched onto a ball over the top and sped towards goal before slipping the ball past Blair (4-2).
This effectively killed off the game as far as Ponteland were concerned but they nevertheless kept plugging away and got some reward with 12 minutes remaining.
Another shot from Hodgson was saved low down by keeper Harrison but the alert Mason Stephenson was quickly onto the rebound to give the black and whites some hope (4-3).
It was the star of the show, McGuire, who restored the two-goal margin with a goal of exquisite skill, dribbling yet again through the defensive cover before impishly chipping keeper Blair with sublime skill and technique (5-3).
The honours on the day deservedly went to Delaval, who obtained revenge for the defeat they suffered at Ponteland on the first day of the season
Finally, a word of appreciation for the match officials who allowed the game to flow and in their way contributed towards an entertaining game for the neutral.