Ponteland United 0 Killingworth Sporting 4 Northern Alliance, Premier Division
WITH three players suspended, captain Dean Gate injured, Matty Turner on county duty again and recent signing Liam Anderson at a wedding, Ponteland faced a difficult encounter with second-in-the-table Killingworth Sporting and so it turned out.
For 35 minutes, the home side matched the visitors without creating any goal-scoring opportunities.
In fairness, neither side had troubled the opposition’s goalkeeper but on the half-hour mark, the lively Liam Callaghan for Killingworth had a great chance from Bollado’s cross, but he skied his shot way over the bar.
Five minutes later Callaghan made amends when he found himself unmarked in the goal area to head home a cross from the left.
Killi doubled their lead on 38 minutes and it was Callaghan again with a strong run bursting into the penalty area to receive another cross from the left and rifle a shot into the roof of the net, giving Blair no chance.
In effect, that was game over and the away side were comfortable winners from then on. They showed why they are in the title race with a good balance of experience and youth and a team capable of scoring goals.
Havelock made a change at half-time, replacing Suaibu with Wood, who moved upfront, and Holman, who had worked tirelessly for the team with little support, moving to the left.
Ten minutes into the second half, Ponteland had their best chance of the match when Watson found Wood in the penalty area.
After a bit of trickery, the tall frontman found himself in on goal but keeper Mordey closed down the angle well and blocked Wood’s shot with his legs.
The hosts continued to battle bravely but never looked like getting back into the match – although Wood did bring a fine save from competent keeper Mordey, diving to his left.
Killi remained strong and organised at the back, kept good shape throughout and had offensive players capable of adding to the scoreline.
With 20 minutes remaining, Di Pietro, after a slip by Flynn, found himself in the clear and chipped the ball over the advancing keeper.
In the final minute, substitute Elliott Dixon was also through on goal and clipped the ball over the unlucky Blair to give the visitors an emphatic 4-0 win.
One positive for Pont from this game was a cameo 25-minute appearance from diminutive striker Billy Holden as he slowly returns from an 18-month absence through injury.
With Tulip no longer available through work commitments, United will be hoping that Holden’s recovery will be sooner rather than later.
Havelock is also looking to strengthen his squad before next Saturday’s visit to Seaton Delaval.