Never a game for the faint hearted, last season’s Northern Alliance premier league games between Wallsend Town and Percy Main produced a total of 15 goals and no manner of incident, while both games and the points ultimately went Percy Main’s way.
Saturday’s meeting, however, did not live up to its predecessors and turned out to be a decidedly scrappy encounter.
There was to be no repeat this time around as The Main’s injury crisis reached epidemic proportions, so much so that those who were genuinely unavailable for selection totalled a staggering 15.
Those who turned out for the visitors tried hard but were left with nothing to show for their efforts.
For Percy Main, James Bishop, whose last taste of action had been with Wetherby United from the West Yorkshire premier division, was added to the side as a match day signing, and he was partnered in the midfield by another match day registration in Steven Craig, while Liam Bainbridge, who had figured for New York in the Tyneside Amateur League, took up position on the left flank.
Facing The Villagers were former players Ian Graham, who had a fairly comfortable afternoon in Wallsend’s defence, and Kevin Grahamslaw, a midfielder who had worn the claret and blue of Percy Main with distinction, following a transfer from Killingworth during the 2011-12 season.
To those watching, it looked as though there may be another goal fest on the way as four of the game’s five counters were scored within the opening half hour, and perhaps surprisingly it was The Main who took an early lead and made all the running during the opening stages as Wallsend struggled to settle.
Chris Glass, who has figured in attack, midfield and defence since his switch from Cramlington Town last year, played the ball down the flank from the right back position, Jordan Miller slid the ball through to Ross Berkeley and the midfielder fired past Rikki Donaldson in the home goal with only three minutes on the clock to record his first strike for The Main.
Soon after Berkeley could have added a second and perhaps should have done better as his effort was smuggled behind for a corner, having been supplied by Miller once more.
Miller himself found himself one-on-one with the home custodian, but Donaldson made the save to prevent Percy Main going further in front.
The missed chances were to prove costly as Liam Anderson rose unchallenged to head home the equaliser from Gavin Jones’ free kick on the quarter hour mark.
The Main’s Jack Taylor made a great challenge in the area to deny Anderson his second, but Wallsend were not to be denied and went in front 25 minutes in as Gary Hall turned and fired past the dive of Dan Coyle in the visitors goal.
Jordan Jones curled an effort just wide of the post for the home side before Wallsend increased the lead with a goal that owed a great deal to good fortune.
Steven Mathews found Anderson and his shot from the edge of the area cannoned off the crossbar and hit the back of the diving Coyle before rebounding into the back of the net.
At the other end, the Villagers’ Matty Robinson fired a long range strike just off target, while Hall struck the woodwork for Wallsend with Coyle prostrate and the lively Anderson looked to add to his tally, but his header just cleared the crossbar.
The home side carved out the better chances during the latter stages of the game as Hall twice went close and Taylor was on hand to deny Anderson with another last ditch clearance.
Steven Mathews drove a free kick into the hands of Coyle, but Wallsend added a fourth in stoppage time as Anderson claimed his hat-trick, just managing to get on the end of a deep left wing cross.
This Saturday Percy Main travel to Cumbria to take on Carlisle City in the Bill Gardner Cup first round. A bus will be leaving Purvis Park at 11am and supporters will be welcome for a nominal charge.