Ponteland United 4 Stocksfield 0
NORTHERN ALLIANCE LEAGUE, PREMIER DIVISION
AFTER almost two months of inactivity due to the bad weather both teams returned to action at Ponteland Leisure Centre on Saturday.
Pont named an unchanged team from the side which had beaten Wark in the last game and welcomed onto the bench from injury Chris Flynn and Gavin Wood.
The home team started as if they had never been away and took the game from the outset to the visitors.
After only 10 minutes, a firm header from Salter found Kent who played a super ball to MacDonald in on goal but the striker slipped the ball past the far post with keeper Armstrong beaten.
Fellow striker Tulip turned neatly in the box but his shot was deflected for a corner.
Pont were creating and missing several opportunities but on 20 minutes they got their just rewards. The hard-working Tulip turned one way and played a reverse ball down the line for Kent to run in on goal and slip the ball past the keeper into the net with both Davidson and MacDonald in support.
With former Stocksfield player Nikki Kerr industrious as ever in midfield, Pont continued to press and a second goal looked inevitable when Kerr’s header found MacDonald free but the striker’s well-directed shot lacked the power to trouble Armstrong.
MacDonald then turned provider and found Tulip in front of goal but his shot was blocked by the keeper. Pont had a golden opportunity to increase the lead five minutes before half-time when Tulip broke down the right but MacDonald had just strayed offside before collecting Tulip’s cross with the goal at his mercy.
Half-time: Ponteland 1 Stocksfield 0
It’s fair to say that Ponteland should have sown the game up in the first half and spectators were wondering whether they would rue the missed chances.
The game continued in the same vein in the second half with Davidson and MacDonald spurning further opportunities to increase the lead.
Davidson beat his full-back before slashing his shot wide of the upright and MacDonald was unlucky to see his half-volley whistle past the far upright.
On the hour mark, with Ponteland missing so many chances, Stocksfield began to believe they could get something from the game and their team’s energy levels surged, led by Vause and Stewart.
For the first tinme in the game, this put Pont on the back foot. This was recognised by manager Suddick, who brought on Turner for the injured Kent and Wood for the tiring MacDonald.
A poor clearance from Powell was headed forward by the visitors to Stewart for their best chance of the game but the shot across goal went wide of the far post.
From the long goal-kick by Powell, the ball was headed by Wood into the path of Turner who with almost his first touch of the game scored confidently.
With 15 minutes remaining on the clock, this was game over. Wood showed composure to turn inside the full-back but his left-foot shot lackled any power to trouble Armstrong and Davidson after displaying trickery down the left lashed his shot high over the bar.
With seven minutes remaining, Pont made the scoreline more respectable with an individual goal by Tulip and five minutes later the hard-working centre-forward took a headed pass from Turner into his stride and coolly slotted the ball past the out-coming keeper.