Ponteland United 4 Longbenton 0 Bluefin Sport Bill Gardner Cup, Quarter-final
Following the resignation of manager Rob Carr last week, senior players Steve Rae and Paul Jones, assisted by Richy Hibbitt, took control of the squad for this quarter-final tie against Longbenton.
With three of the club’s goalkeepers out through injury, United gave a debut to their reserves goalkeeper Christopher Walker.
This was the only change from the team which lost narrowly last week in the Minor Cup to Newcastle University.
After 15 minutes, United were awarded a free-kick on the left and Rae floated the ball into the path of Zac Bewley, who got in front of ‘keeper Martin Dixon to glance the ball with his head/shoulder into the net.
For the remainder of the half, the game was fairly even with Longbenton showing their capabilities.
Chris Sword tested Pont’s debutant keeper with a powerful shot from distance, but the keeper looked confident plucking the ball from under the bar.
In the first 15 minutes of the second half, Pont started to maintain greater possession of the ball, and pushed Longbenton further back
Just as in the first Bewley was brought down outside the area for a free-kick to Pont.
Skipper Rae on this occasion found Ethan Bewley whose header was brilliantly saved by ‘keeper Dixon from point-blank range, but the ball rebounded to Zac Bewley who fired into the vacant net.
The second goal had certainly lifted the hosts and they took full control in the remaining quarter of the game as the visitors tired.
Zac Bewley’s improvisation brought the third goal when he flicked the ball over the defence for Cook, who rifled the ball past the stranded Dixon.
Three minutes later, Cook got his second, applying a cool finish when played in by substitute Darwent.
The introduction of Havelock-Brown in the final period had made a difference with the teenager rarely giving the ball away as he linked with both midfielders Rae and Mulroy and the front pairing of Cook and Bewley.
After receiving a ball from full-back Hibbitt, the teenager went down the wing before crossing for Cook, but the ball was just too high for the striker as he headed over the bar.