Students complete the double over Ponteland
Ponteland United 2-5 Newcastle University
Both of these sides were promoted from the First Division last season and now find themselves as possible championship contenders along with North Shields Athletic and Killingworth Town.
On a soft pitch which would become more difficult due to persistent rainfall it was the students who started the better taking the game to Ponteland.
They missed an early penalty, which struck a post, but the let-off for Ponteland was short lived. On 15 minutes a superb cross from the left by Callum Horn floated invitingly into the path of Olly Walden was headed into the net.
Ponteland just couldn’t get into the game and they had another let off on 20 minutes when the visitors again hit the woodwork.
Then out of the blue, a minute before half time, a free kick from Hibbitt was headed on to Nisbet coming in at the back post to head home the equaliser which United barely deserved.
The second half started just like the first and five minutes into the second period the students restored their lead when Walker scored following a free kick.
Ponteland hit back, however, and equalised for a second time through Ethan Bewley.
This at last lifted the home side and for a time they wrestled the initiative from the visitors as the relentless raincontinued to fall.
Nisbet got free down the right and in on goal but was thwarted by keeper MacLeod who blocked his shot and further attempts at the follow up by Nisbet and Bewley were also blocked.
Both sides were looking for a winner and it became end to end.
With ten minutes remaining the fresh legs of a substitute striker outpaced the Pont defence on the heavy ground to go clear and although his shot was well saved by Whinham the ball rebounded to Callum Hall to tap the ball into the empty net as the students went 2-3 in front.
The disappointment to go behind again for the home side was visible when it looked as though Pont could get victory.
Unfortunately for such a good contest Pont lost some discipline in the final minutes. L’Argent was shown a second yellow card for a rash challenge and at the death Satterthwaite, who had only been on the pitch for a few minutes, was dismissed for inappropriate comments to the referee after Konadu-Yiadom had scored two goals in the final two minutes to provide the visitors with a somewhat flattering although thoroughly deserved victory.
The University had completed the double over United and so far been the best team Pont have faced this season.
Whether the students go on to lift the Premiership title for the first time in their history remains to be seen for Killingworth Town, who have the meanest defence in the division, will have something to say on that score and the teams have yet to meet in the final run in.
No doubt there will be some twists and turns still to come making for the most exciting finish for years.