Ponteland United 2 Ashington Colliers 4 Northern Football Alliance, Premier Division
WITH several players either injured or unavailable, Ponteland gave a debut to 17-year-old Jack L’Argent after consistent displays for the club’s Reserves side and the teenager put in an accomplished performance.
Another teenager, Liam Blair, returned in goal after injury and just got the nod ahead of Ryan Carter.
The first 20 minutes was quite open without any side creating any clear goal-scoring opportunities.
Simon Cunningham, for the visitors, shot from distance but the ball went high and wide and David Brown headed Shaun Gibson’s cross from the left hard down into the ground and the ball bounced over the crossbar.
United lost Wood in the first period with a foot injury and he was replaced by McGorie.
The Colliers took the lead when normally-reliable keeper Blair failed to punch a high cross and Glen Bolton headed home.
Ten minutes later, United were level when a cross from Robinson on the right was headed out to Holden and the in-form striker showed great composure to cut inside before firing low and true into the net.
Flynn had a similar opportunity minutes later, this time from McGorie’s cross but his firmly-struck shot sailed high over the bar.
Half-time was approaching and the period finished in dramatic fashion. Into first-half injury-time, the dangerous David Brown swivelled in the box and rifled a right-foot shot into the goal and, a minute later, McGorie did the same. Half-time: 2-2.
In the second half, the visitors gradually got more on top, particularly in midfield despite the tireless efforts of United’s Stephenson and Dunn. Neverthess, goal-scoring opportunities remained far and few between.
On 63 minutes, the Colliers got their noses in front again when David Brown got on the end of a free-kick and found his header misjudged by Blair as it crept into the net off the post.
Holden tried his best upfront but, despite the efforts of the team, was too often the only real threat going forward.
He nearly got his hat-trick after a typical mazy run but saw his effort slip past the post.
A hat-trick did in fact come but it was the Colliers’ David Brown who scored it. He had an excellent afternoon holding up the ball and was involved in most of Ashington’s play and put the game beyond Pont’s reach with a well-taken goal.
Manager Havelock could not fault his young team for its hard-working performance but once Wood had left the field they lacked any physical presence until another teenage debutant, substitute Liam Warren, entered the fray.
With Walker producing a shock 4-0 victory at home to Killingworth, the defeat pushed United back into the bottom two.