Again Percy Main count cost of losing two-goal lead

For the second week running Percy Main surrendered a two-goal lead.

But unlike the game at Killingworth seven days prior, they were at least left with a point to show for their efforts as Stocksfield finished perhaps slightly the stronger.

The Main were left to reflect on a possible and what could turn out to be vital five points lost in the Northern Alliance premier division relegation dogfight as the season reaches it’s climax with only two games remaining.

Percy Main dominated large parts of the game and were in front for the most part, but for some errant finishing by Chris Laidlaw in particular, who had four decent goalscoring opportunities during the afternoon, may have been out of site.

That said, Laidlaw’s work rate as usual was superb as he troubled the visitors defence with his pace throughout, never gave up and played a vital part in his side’s early opener.

Prior to Wednesday night’s 4-0 home defeat against Blyth Town, Stocksfield had been the division’s form side having lost only once during their previous nine games, which included a comprehensive 5-0 home win over Main as recently as March 8.

But the visitors were hampered by the unavailability of one or two key players and fielded a much changed side to that of the previous encounter.

The kick-off was delayed for seven minutes to Mark the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough tragedy, and those inside Purvis Park marked the occasion with an immaculately observed minute’s silence.

Percy Main were first out of the blocks and made the early running.

Ian Graham played a superb long ball to the feet of Rob Watson down the left and his run and measured cross found Laidlaw who fired over.

Only three minutes later Laidlaw atoned for his earlier miss as he helped on Redmond Cockburn’s through ball to Stewart Wright who turned and fired home the first goal of the game only seven minutes in.

Ryan McKee, who registered his first in some style during last weekend’s game at Killingworth, saw his deflected free kick go for a corner following a foul on Wright on the edge of the area, while Rob Rodgerson in the home goal showed his mettle by saving at the feet of Ben Dib-Fuller at the second attempt.

Main pressed for a second as Laidlaw’s run and low shot was just past the upright, and Cockburn sent an audacious 35-yard effort which smacked against the top of the crossbar.

At the other end, Kane White stole in on the blind side and fired into the side netting, and Ben Pearson’s shot from outside the area was just off target.

A minute into the second half Percy Main doubled their lead as a poor clearance by Stocksfield goalkeeper Bryan Wood was charged down by Wright who ran on to slot home.

And when ten minutes later, the visitors’ Derek Waters steered a penalty kick just wide of the post, it appeared that it might just be The Villagers’ day.

Those thoughts were soon put on hold, though, as the impressive Dib-Fuller latched onto a ball from the right flank and turned to volley home a spectacular effort from just outside the angle, giving Rodgerson no chance.

It was a superb strike and a goal to grace any game, which visibly lifted the visitors spirits.

However, Percy Main were presented with a couple of good chances within a three-minute spell to re-establish their two-goal cushion, but neither were taken.

Firstly Laidlaw latched onto slack play in the visitors defence and ran on to slot past the dive of Wood, but the ball rolled agonisingly clear of the far post, while the same player took Rodgerson’s long clearance in his stride, beat the offside trap but fired over the bar.

The missed chances were to prove costly for Main as five minutes later Waters found Kieran Day who fired home from the edge of the area to restore parity with 12 minutes of the game remaining.

There were further chances at both ends as McKee for Percy Main and Stocksfield’s Day both fired over, but there was to be no further addition to the scoring and on the balance of play, the Villagers were left to reflect on two points lost.

This Saturday Percy Main head south of the Tyne to take on Hebburn Reyrolle, kick-off is 2.30pm.