BACK in October, Percy Main Amateurs won their Northumberland FA Senior Benevolent Bowl first round tie 1-0 over Heddon with esteemed former player Ronnie Robinson in attendance, celebrating his 80th birthday.
Perhaps Main legends in attendance is a good luck charm, as the Villagers progressed to the semi-final with a stylish 3-0 victory over Seaton Delaval Amateurs, under the watchful gaze of Gary Wigglesworth, who left the club in 2008.
Wigglesworth would have enjoyed proceedings more than another former Main player, who turned out for his new club and left on the back of a comprehensive defeat.
With both regular keepers Rob Rodgerson, unavailable, and Rob McGregor, injured, out, manager Shaun Galbraith called on the services of the superb Chris Bannon, who had distinguished himself for the Main in goal during previous campaigns, though perhaps not up front when he missed the sitter of the season at Murton last May.
Recent signing from Blyth Town, Jordan Miller, was making his home debut and he made quite a splash with an all-action, high-energy, man of the match performance, just shading returning two-goal striker Chris Bell.
These two combined well in the second minute with Bell’s astute back heel allowing Miller an early chance to fire just wide.
After six minutes, Davey Surrey launched a pile driver from outside the box that drifted wide, following great work by Miller.
Surrey tried his luck again after 20 minutes and flashed a thunderous volley just over the bar with Delaval keeper Niall Harrison a bemused onlooker.
Moments later, a James Leggett headed a Ryan Laws corner a shade wide of the far post as the Main exercised a degree of control in the game.
However, twice in 30 seconds on the half hour, Percy Main were indebted to Bannon, who made two brilliant saves – going full length to block a low David Borthwick shot, then tipping over an astute lob by Michael Fenwick.
Those two saves became even more crucial in the second period when Bell gave the home side the lead after 51 minutes by thumping home a free kick from the edge of the box.
Bell could have doubled the lead soon after when he picked up the loose ball after Harrison had dropped a cross, but the Main striker’s effort was hacked away from the line by a desperate Delaval defence.
Michael Fenwick spurned a decent chance to equalise when he fired wide after Bannon had blocked Robert Hanley’s initial effort.
Soon after, Ryan Laws, the Main’s promising, youthful left back, was taken off with what looked like a nasty ankle injury, later diagnosed as a strained ligament, after an innocuous challenge.
His replacement Chris Glass soon shattered Delaval’s hopes when he raced on to a through ball and smashed a low effort in to the bottom corner.
The scoring was completed by Bell, who raced from his own half, evaded three challenges and fired emphatically home to ensure the Main reached the semi-finals of a competition that has been won three times in the past by the Purvis Park club.
In the last minute, Dean Morgan preserved the Villagers’ clean sheet with a superb headed clearance from almost on the line after Bannon was finally beaten, before a last attack saw Bell denied a hat-trick by the crossbar after Harrison got a glove on another scorching effort.
On Saturday Percy Main are at home again to Ashington Colliers in a Northern Alliance premier division game. Kick-off is at 2pm and all are welcome.