Whitley Bay A 3 Ponteland United 2
Northern Alliance, Premier Division
SEVEN weeks ago, United suffered an embarrassing 8-1 defeat at the hands of Whitley Bay A and were played off the park by the Seasiders and could not have been looking forward to last night’s return fixture.
Prior to the game, United suffered another blow when young keeper Liam Blair arrived on crutches with a broken metatarsal. Fortunately, Michael Bertram had himself just recovered from injury and was able to deputise.
United put in a much-improved and spirited performance and battled away, closing down the home side all over the pitch.
Nevertheless, the speed and movement of Whitley Bay did cause problems and some last-ditch tackling by Jones and Flynn kept them at Bay, with Bertram behind them saving at the feet to deny Gavin Hattrick and Jack Walker.
United had their moments when, following a long punt by Brown, Billy Holden put Mark Davison under pressure and when he got free and towards goal he pulled his shot wide of the far-post.
On 23 minutes, Bay went in front when United failed to deal with a long throw and Gavin Hattrick ghosted in to head home.
Towards the end of the half, Ponteland were becoming more comfortable and notched an equaliser with three minutes of the half remaining when Brown fired a fierce shot towards goal, Fenwick caused some pressure and the alert Holden fired in to give United some encouragement after a battling display.
Eight minutes into the second half United found themselves behind once again when new signing Christopher Reid slipped in to take advantage of an error of judgement at the back to head home a long free-kick.
Despite the set-back, United didn’t let their heads drop and continued despite losing Roy Gordon to a damaged toe and Robinson through exhaustion. The introduction of Wood made a difference with his hold-up play and composure on the ball.
With half-an-hour remaining, a neat move between Wood and Holden ended with the nippy forward cutting inside the full-back but unfortunately saw his shot deflected for a corner.
Nevertheless, with 15 minutes to go, the two combined again and this time Holden made no mistake with a cool finish past keeper Hammond.
Both teams wanted the win. Bertram took a knock diving bravely at the feet to deny Hattrick and although the keeper protested at the forward’s untimely challenge, the referee and his assistant following a discussion saw nothing untoward.
Jack Walker headed over from a good position a cross from Bay’s Jobson but were fortuitous from the next set-piece.
With only five minutes remaining, a long throw came into the box and fell at the feet of Ponts’ Dan Dunn helping out in defence.
His clearance had the misfortune to hit the heel of Fenwick and rebound into the Pont goal.
A major set-back and huge disappointment to the Pont lads who had battled all evening and, despite their lowly league position, gave a good account of themselves.