Northbank Carlisle 0-2 Ponteland United
United made the trip to Cumbria on a glorious spring afternoon to face struggling Northbank.
The opening 20 minutes was an evenly contested affair with Northbank clearly up for the challenge against a team second in the table. They had the early opportunities when a free kick was given against Little 25 yards from goal but Ricky James’ shot was just over the bar. Mark Worrall got beyond the Pont defence but was thwarted by keeper Whinham.
Zac Bewley for Pont then came alive and was fouled on more than one occasion as he threatened with his penetrative runs. On 20 minutes he was involved in a good move with David Short which ended with Havelock-Brown shooting left footed just wide of the upright from 18 yards.
On the half hour mark Pont should have gone ahead. Another flowing move down the right involving Cook and Havelock- Brown ended with Zac Bewley’s shot being parried out by Townsley to Ethan Bewley and with the goal at his mercy he somehow missed the target.
Pont continued to press, but five minutes before the break they were almost caught out when Worrall got beyond the defence and Pont’s keeper Whinham saved one on one.
Two minutes later the missed opportunity proved costly. Short battled for the ball deep in the Northbank half and found Ethan Bewley. He was surrounded by defenders but somehow came out with the ball before firing past Townsley
The second half started where the first had finished with United in the ascendency. A cross by Short from the left found Cook on the opposite flank and he played the ball into the path of Havelock-Brown who skied his shot over the bar. Short then found Zac Bewley who skipped by his marker but was brought down on the edge of the box to the left of centre. Havelock-Brown’s free kick just cleared the cross bar.
Pont were still given the occasional warning and in one break Worrall tried to lob Whinham but the keeper was alert and caught the ball easily.
With 25 minutes remaining Pont were still seeking an elusive second goal as they exerted continual pressure on the Northbank goal. Another good move by Pont ended with the energetic Short going past his marker and in on goal but Townsley was determined not to be beaten pushing the ball wide for a corner. From the short corner Zac Bewley saw his cross -shot hit the outside of the far post and out for a goal kick.
Into the final 20 minutes McIvor made changes. Havelock-Brown had a strong appeal for a penalty dismissed and then produced an overhead kick from Stephenson’s cross to the far post but it just cleared the bar.
It was one way traffic as Northbank battled bravely to stay in this game. The final break through came six minutes from the end when Havelock-Brown and Stephenson combined and the ball came to Johnstone who side footed the ball into the far corner past and unsighted Townsley.