Late goal sickens Pont after fight-back

Percy Main 3 Ponteland United 3 Northern Football Alliance Premier Division

WITH Manager Michael Havelock on holiday Colin Bell took charge of Ponteland Utd’s team for the visit to Percy Main, who had already beaten them twice this season in the league and Challenge Cup.

John Dunn returned to the starting line up following suspension and Elliott Huart came in for the injured Paul Hodgson.

Lining up for Percy Main was recent signing Nkuriza Suaibu who decided on a move to the cottagers after failing to get a regular starting position at Ponteland.

A minute silence took place before the game to remember those who sadly lost their lives in the world wars.

Suaibu extended the silence on the away bench when, within a minute of the start, he showed his former team what he was capable of by playing keepy-ups in the penalty area before looping an overhead kick into the far corner of the net. Suaibu nearly did further damage a few minutes later when he played a one two with Abladey and sped down the line but full back Turner did well to block the cross.

After the early set back Ponteland started to play some good football with Huart prominent in driving forward from midfield and seeing one powerful shot deflected for a corner.

On 18 minutes Ponteland equalised from an excellent flowing move which resulted in Turner pulling the ball back into the path of Anderson who missed his kick.

But John Dunn was behind him to steer the ball into the goal.

Ponteland became more confident and had a greater share of the play but it was the home side that nearly increased their lead.

Another excellent run and cross by Suaibu found Kevin Westphall at the back post who smacked his volley against the bar and then brought a brilliant save from Westwood from the rebound.

Instead of leading 2–1 the Main then found themselves losing 2–1 moments later as Paul Jones up for a corner took advantage of a loose ball to fire Ponteland in front seven minutes before half time.

The lead lasted only a minute before Tony Abladey took advantage of slack defending from a corner to fire low and true into the bottom corner of the net.

A final flurry from Ponteland just before the interval but Rodgerson saved brilliantly from Huart and then turned a Ranking free-kick over the bar for safety. Half-time 2–2.

Ten minutes after the re-start Ponteland suffered a blow when John Dunn, chasing a loose ball in the penalty area, keeled over under no challenge and had to go to hospital. The ball went out for a corner.

Fortunately it wasn’t a fracture but a badly sprained ankle with ligament damage and sadly he’ll be out of action for some considerable time.

While Dunn was off the field Ponteland actually took the lead when Jones headed the corner goalwards and Liam Anderson almost on the goal line with his back to goal swivelled to clip the ball into the net.

As the game progressed one wondered whether Ponteland could hold onto their lead. With twenty minutes to go Matty Turner smacked a superb volley against the upright while at the other end an error in midfield allowed Westphall free to run in on goal

Although his shot beat keeper Blair, it hit the post and was cleared.

Time was ticking away and in the last minute of normal time Jevan Jull unmarked from a corner rose to head in the equaliser to the delight of the home crowd.

A draw was perhaps a fair result in the end but Ponteland will be disappointed after conceding a goal in the first minute, then getting their noses in front for such a long period in the second half before conceding from a set piece at the death.