Hexham 3 Ponteland United 0 Northern Alliance, Division One
Ponteland named an unchanged side for the visit to Hexham on Saturday in this end-of-season encounter after both teams have had a disappointing season.
On a bobbly pitch, it took the teams a while to settle and nothing was really created in the opening exchanges, apart from a long-range shot from Hexham’s Mark Flietas hitting the bar and United’s Liam Anderson hitting the side-netting from a good pass by L’Argent.
United then reshuffled when Rankin had to be replaced by Cook, with Anderson moving out to the right.
On 20 minutes, Hexham were awarded a penalty for a trip by Potts in a congested penalty area. McAlindon made no mistake, driving into the bottom corner (1-0).
Some good football was then played by both sides as they got to grips with the pitch but neither side lacked any penetration which probably accounts for their lowly league positions.
Almost on half-time, Hexham’s Liam Heenan lunged into a strong challenge on Peacock on the halfway line, for which the referee showed him a red card.
The balance of the game, as a result, swung in United’s favour as they sought to make the extra man count. They had much more of the ball, with Peacock and Anderson, in particular, having some joy down the right.
The best chance of the game fell to Cook with 35 minutes remaining but the opportunity went begging when he failed to head Peacock’s excellent cross immediately in front of goal.
With 15 minutes to go, Hexham obtained a corner, at which point Ponteland switched off and allowed full-back Tom Hacking a free run on goal by the penalty-spot to power a header into the roof of the net (2-0).
It got even better for Hexham five minutes later when McAlindon’s free-kick caught in the wind and looped over the unfortunate Robb (3-0).
The scoreline somewhat flattered Hexham but considering they played with 10 men for the whole of the second half without looking in any particular danger the result was fully deserved.
Ponteland United 2 Heddon 1
United were keen to end a disappointing run of four straight defeats in last Wednesday’s encounter against neighbours Heddon at Ponteland Leisure Centre.
Local teenager Cameron Robb retained his place in goal and Paul Jones was welcomed back to the heart of defence.
The match was evenly contested in the first period with few clear-cut scoring opportunities.
Heddon who have had many changes this season were more physical than Pont and centre-backs Ryan Potts and Craig Shipley had to be alert and strong to keep forwards Andrew Davidson and Francis Storey at bay.
Centre-forward Storey had perhaps the best chance in the opening exchanges but a shot on the volley went high over the bar.
Five minutes before the interval, Rankin found Anderson just inside the penalty area and he managed to beat keeper Marsden and a defender to the ball and poke it past them into the net to provide the hosts with a slender but probably deserved lead (1-0).
The lead didn’t last long, for just on half-time, United lost the ball in midfield in a similar manner to last Saturday and the loose ball was played quickly to centre-forward Storey to run through on goal and shoot past the advancing Robb (1-1).
The match opened up in the second half as both teams sensed one further goal could win the game. The opportunity came to Ponteland with 20 minutes remaining. A long ball from the impressive Potts found L’Argent speeding down the left. He was too fast for the defender and was brought down inside the penalty area with the referee up with play and pointing directly to the penalty-spot. Davidson drove the ball past the despairing dive of keeper Marsden (2-1).