Hodgson rescues a point in injury time for Ponteland in ten-goal thriller

Ponteland United and New Fordley shared ten goals in a thrilling Northern Alliance division one encounter on Saturday.

But it took an injury time equaliser from Paul Hogdson to snatch a point against the home side, who had been reduced to ten men at the interval.

With Spencer injured, Satterthwaite came back into United’s starting line-up with Connor Graham retaining his place.

The bench saw a welcome return after injury for last season’s player of the year Gary Cook, and alongside him was new signing Mark Murtagh as manager Liam McIvor looked for his team to bounce back from a disappointing performance in midweek against Shilbottle.

The visitors started brightly and Havelock-Brown saw his firm shot from distance tipped onto the bar by home keeper Liam Dodds and back into play before being cleared for a corner which came to nothing.

However, on five minutes United found themselves behind when a regulation ball up field was headed on and Carl Thomas pounced to hit an unstoppable volley past Bowey-Tyler.

Pont went forward and Zac Bewley had a shot saved by Dodds, who also denied Graham when the ball came back out to him.

It was end to end play early and United got an equaliser on 20 minutes with the best move of the game so far.

Potts found Rae just inside the penalty area and he squared the ball to the unmarked Graham to fire home.

Rae was again involved five minutes later, this time on the left floating a ball in for Bewley, but he headed over the bar.

United then had the ball in the net with a fast counter-attack involving Havelock-Brown, Bewley and Potts, but the latter was adjudged to have run offside when he received the ball.

For all their good work going forward, United were stung ten minutes before half-time when Carl Thomas scored a scorcher, hitting a volley over his shoulder from 20 yards into the top corner to put the hosts back in front.

Then a couple of decisions given by a club official, one of which involved a disallowed a goal for a ball going out of play for a goal kick, clearly annoyed the home team and this boiled over on the half-time whistle when centre forward Thomas ran unnecessarily to the official and his actions resulted in him receiving a red card.

Despite being reduced to ten men, New Fordley gave themselves some hope five minutes after the restart when Jordan Watson headed in Kieran Pile’s corner kick at the near post.

It could have been worse for Pont when a weak pass from Hodgson allowed Pile to burst through on goal but his delicate chip over Bowey-Tyler drifted wide of the goal.

With Murtagh having replaced the injured Satterthwaite in the first half, United suffered a double blow when captain Rae had to withdraw along with L’Argent.

McIvor put himself into the fray in an advanced role and brought Cook on for his first appearance of the season.

In an eight minutes spell United were in front. Graham scored from the penalty spot on 57 minutes after Bewley had been brought down following good play between McIvor and Murtagh.

Then Cook broke from midfield to release Bewley down the wing and his cross was inch perfect for Murtagh to score.

Then McIvor himself rolled back the years to power a shot on 65 minutes past Dodds.

The expectation was that United, with a man advantage, would go on to win the game, but football is not like that.

Watson had other ideas, taking advantage of a loose ball 18 yards from goal to hit a screamer just inside the far post to level the scores again.

For the impartial observer this was an exciting game but frustrating for the managers.

When Hibbitt uncharacteristically played a loose ball substitute Curtis Miller took full advantage to run through and put Fordley back in the driving seat with ten minutes remaining.

However, in time added on Pont had a corner which was headed out to Hodgson who volleyed the ball through a crowd of players and into the net.

Thankfully the efforts of both teams in the second half and the flurry of goals and excitement overshadowed the unsavoury incident at the end of the first half.

United have now scored 13 goals and conceded 12 in their three games to date which must be a frustration for the new manager.