Gosforth Bohemians 0 Ponteland United 2 Bay Plastics Combination Cup semi-final
After last week’s disappointing result against lowly Blyth Isabella, United were looking to bounce back in this semi-final tie of the Bay Plastics Combination Cup, which United won two seasons ago.
They welcomed back Peter Scott from holiday and Chris Hibbitt from injury, but were without the absent Zac Bewley and suspended Wayne Dunn.
United started well and took the game to the hosts.
In the first 10 minutes, Pont had a couple of corners and looked threatening in the crowded goal area.
From one clearance, the ball came to Darwent down the right and he managed to get beyond the full-back, but his shot was well blocked by keeper Ross Thomas.
L’Argent couldn’t quite force the rebound past a forest of legs into the net. Bohemians had their own corner at the other end, which was cleared by Paul Jones.
Darwent had started brightly upfront for Pont and was involved on 15 minutes linking neatly with Rae, who released Cook, but the striker just couldn’t quite dribble round the keeper.
On 30 minutes, Pont’s keeper Walker came to the edge of his box to clear but, on realising he wasn’t going to make it, stopped short and when Bohs player went down, there was a strong appeal by the home side for a penalty. The referee was unimpressed and waved play on.
At this stage, Bohs were coming more into the game after Pont’s promising start but, on 35 minutes, Pont produced the best move of the match so far. L’Argent found Cook, who quickly turned the ball into the path of the supporting Rae, who was in on goal but his shot lacked any power to trouble Thomas.
The only criticism one could make about Pont’s first-half performance was their lack of goals to show for their build-up play, but the positive was they were creating chances.
Just before half-time, L’Argent playing in a more advanced role today went down the left and crossed for Darwent, who couldn’t quite direct his header on target.
Half-time came with the scores level and still all to play for. The second half continued just like the first, with United forcing a couple of early corners after Darwent had got down the wing only to see his cross headed behind for a corner.
From Rae’s corner Scott’s header was chested off the line for another corner.
Darwent again broke down the left and this time found Cook, who teed himself up, but his shot was just wide of the crossbar and upright.
From another Rae corner, keeper Thomas flicked the ball onto his own crossbar and away from danger.
Pont needed a goal and this duly came on 55 minutes.
Cook wriggled clear down the right and his cross was headed out to L’Argent wide on the left. The wing-back found Rae, whose composure and trickery on the ball allowed him to pass to Darwent in front of goal for him take one touch and shoot past Thomas (0-1).
Five minutes later, Darwent was clear through on goal but he took a heavy touch going round the keeper and the ball ran away from him for a goal-kick.
With half-an-hour remaining, Darwent was replaced by teenager Ethan Bewley and the youngster was immediately involved in the action.
L’Argent did well down the left and crossed the ball towards Bewley. The teenager chested the ball down, turned and shot in one movement but Thomas was alert and saved comfortably.
The game entered its final 15 minutes with perhaps the next goal being crucial. Bohs thought they’d got it when Peter Hall managed to get a shot away on the right, but the ball hit the angle of crossbar and upright and came out.
That incident alone illustrated the slender lead which Pont maintained, but with the speed of Cook, L’Argent and Bewley up front Bohs were aware of over exposing themselves at the back as they sought an equaliser.
Their best chance came with 10 minutes to go when a corner by Andrew Dalton was met powerfully by the head of centre-back Marios Penagiotou, but to Pont’s relief it flew wide of the upright.
Five minutes later, it was Pont’s opportunity to put the game safe.
A long clearance by keeper Walker found Cook running beyond the defence and, with the ball bouncing nicely for him, he lobbed it over the keeper, but, unfortunately for him and his team, wide of the post.
He did make amends though at the death. A long throw by Scott found Cook again running beyond the defence out on the right and this time he crossed into the path of Billy Holden who had made up 30 yards, the reward for which was a straight forward tap-in (0-2) to put United into the final where they will play Newbiggin, who had defeated Wallsend Boys Club 2-1.