Ponteland United 1 Seaton Delaval 0 Kicks Leisure George Dobbins League Cup, Round Three
A BILLY Holden strike after seven minutes was sufficient to knock out last season’s winners Seaton Delaval and take Ponteland through to the next round of the league cup.
This is the third time this season that United have defeated higher-division opponents in cup competitions and again they stepped up to the mark, although they did have a man advantage for the whole of the second half.
With in-form strikers Cook and Wright missing through work and illness respectively, United suffered a further blow in the warm-up when Hodgson pulled up with a groin injury.
However, it only took seven minutes before Holden made his mark getting on the end of a glorious pass from Lamb and his shot, with the aid of a deflection, looped over the head of stranded keeper Niall Harrison.
United were looking dangerous going forward with both Holden and co-striker Ford causing problems for the visitors. After 15 minutes, Holden nearly got a second when his shot after excellent work by Rankin was blocked on the line.
The ball came out to Davidson who composed himself before firing at goal from eight yards but again the shot was blocked on the line.
It had been a good start by Ponteland but on 20 minutes they had to thank their own keeper Taylor to stop what looked like a certain goal.
Recent signing for Delaval, Alex Benjamin, burst down the right with a strong run and his cross was inch-perfect in front of goal for Robert Haney.
He struck the ball cleanly and the equaliser looked inevitable but somehow Taylor flung himself across his goal line to deny the forward.
The Pont defence is a lot meaner these days than at the start of the season, with Lamb and Armstrong in particular coping efficiently and effectively with any Delaval threat.
At the other end Ford and Holden were continuing to frustrate the visitors’ defenders and this frustration boiled over just before half-time when Ian Irving, after intervention by a referee’s assistant, was shown a red card for an alleged punch on Ford.
Five minutes into the second half, United’s Stephen Rae had to leave the field with a hamstring problem and was replaced by Jack L’Argent. In fairness to Delaval you could not tell in the second half which team had the ten men, but Benjamin was having to drop deeper and deeper and this restricted their goal-scoring opportunities.
Jones for Ponteland, who was in an unfamiliar midfield position in the absence of Rae and Hodgson, was covering every area of the pitch to prevent Delaval getting into any form of rhythm and the majority of their play was well outside the penalty area.
Apart from a couple of free-kicks which smacked into the defensive wall, Taylor did not really have a shot to save in the second period and Holden’s strike was sufficient to take Ponteland through into the next round where they will face yet another Premier Division team – Blyth Town.