Beaten Pont left to rue missed opportunities in the first half

Ponteland's Jamie Lockhead under pressure. Picture by Keith Robertson.
Ponteland's Jamie Lockhead under pressure. Picture by Keith Robertson.

Ponteland United 0 Percy Main Amateurs 2 Northern Alliance, Division One

United made two changes for the visit of unbeaten Percy Main to the Leisure Centre, with Steve Rae coming in from the unfortunate Michael Rush with Tom Clark retaining his place.

The game started well with both sides playing some good football and spectators looking forward to a good contest.

First opportunity went to Ponteland on 10 minutes when Lockhead clipped a ball over the defence to Clark, but he just couldn’t quite control it as it came over his shoulder and James Leggett cleared.

Shortly afterwards Shipley played a ball out wide to Bewley who got in his cross to the far post where keeper David Edwards, under pressure, managed to punch clear for a corner.

On the quarter-of-an-hour mark, United had their best chance when Bewley linked up with Holden down the left.

The latter got himself into a good shooting position, but dragged his shot wide of the nearside upright and the opportunity was lost.

On 20 minutes, United had a corner which was cleared by Main for a quick dangerous breakaway down the left.

Rankin went in full pursuit and managed to hack the ball away for a corner which came to nothing, but Main certainly looked dangerous on the break with their fast front-men.

However, the best chance of the half came on 20 minutes.

A quick free-kick was taken by Pont way in their own half to captain Rae who sped past a couple of players before playing the ball through to Bewley running beyond the defence and in on goal.

A goal looked inevitable, but unfortunately for Pont, Bewley shot over the keeper, agonisingly wide of the post.

United continued to probe and five minutes later they nearly scored when a cross from the right was almost deflected into the visitors goal, but it was cleared down the left to Daniel Sneap.

The wide man used his speed to outpace the Pont defence and headed towards the goal before planting his shot past MacDonald for a fine individual goal.

The warning signs of Main hitting on the break had not been heeded and as a result Pont found themselves behind having had the better chances.

Rush replaced the injured Clark on the half-hour mark. Holden as ever was in the thick of the action for Pont and hit a goal-bound half-volley on 35 minutes, but it was deflected away and the danger averted.

United had given a good display in the first half, had conceded a goal somewhat against the run of play and were unfortunate to find themselves a goal down at the interval after shading the first half.

Early in the second half, a good move by Pont ended with Bewley going down the left and his shot was parried away by Edwards.

However, Main were looking stronger in midfield with attacks from the home team becoming more and more sporadic.

Nevertheless, Pont remained steady at the back and just needed a goal to get back into the game.

All their hard work was undone with 30 minutes remaining when Scott just inside the penalty area misjudged the bounce of the ball as it bounced over his attacker and himself and on turning handled the ball for a penalty.

Sam Thompson confidently fired the ball into the bottom corner, giving MacDonald no chance.

From then on it was an uphill struggle for United. They tried hard, but lost their shape and composure and were unable to get the upper hand of an increasingly confident Main side who were now in the ascendancy.

Full credit must go to the visitors who maintained their control and saw the game out without too much difficulty and were worthy winners.

Pont were left to wonder whether the scoreline would have been different if they had taken their first-half chances.