Goalkeepers steal the show in draw

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A SEEMINGLY low-key, end of season game featured two sides bedevilled by the seemingly intractable problem of vastly changed line-ups from their previous game.

The result saw Percy Main Amateurs thwarted in their bid to finish the season with a flourish by a sparkling cameo in the Killingworth goal by veteran stand-in Mickey Bell who, despite claiming not to have played between the sticks since he was in the Cubs, enlivened this affair with several smart stops.

At the other end, Main’s keeper was Tony Guy, making only his second appearance for the Villagers and his first since September 1.

Despite this he put in a solid performance that was characterised by a couple of breath-taking reaction saves, the last of which a stupendous leaping stop from a Paul Baird thunderbolt in the dying moments of the game to preserve a point for a Percy Main side who really ought to have collected a maximum return.

The early exchanges were tame in the extreme.

Pierre-Luc Coiffait flicked a Jason Ritchie corner wide for the Villagers, while Kevin Grahamslaw and then Craig Hailey were just off target for Killingworth.

The best chance saw Paul Baird blaze over when he fastened on to a Tony Guy punch, but the home side survived.

Indeed the two keepers were untroubled as the sides took turns to miss the target; Michael Bowman and Matty Dunn for Percy Main and Paul Dunn for Killingworth, before Tony Guy made a smart low save, tipping a Hailey drive round the base of his near post.

Stung in to action, Matty Dunn almost gave the Villagers the lead when collecting a McEnaney pass and firing an inch past the post, with Bell beaten.

The Killingworth keeper distinguished himself a minute later when blocking a Michael Bowman shot, but he was powerless to stop Coiffait slotting home from a tight angle after a great through ball from Bowman a minute before the interval.

The second period also began at a low tempo, but it came to life when Guy made the first of his astonishing saves, blocking a header from a corner after 54 minutes.

Matty Dunn then had the chance to double the Percy Main lead but his shot from narrow angle was saved by the feet of Bell, who also had an incredible escape on the hour, catching a Bowman effort with his legs after Matty Dunn’s effort had been blocked.

Killingworth’s Paul Dunn hit the bar with a header, but was not to be denied after 76 minutes when he accepted a lucky ricochet on the edge of the box and fired home.

The visitors grew in confidence and Guy was forced to block a Jorge Bollardo effort at the near post, before his acrobatics to deny Baird.

The Main had one last chance to win it, but Shadforth’s delicious lob came back off the bar with Bell a mere spectator in injury time.

Percy Main bring down the curtain on 2010-11 with a home game against Gateshead Rutherford at Purvis Park on Saturday.

A bumper crowd is expected for this attractive end of season clash, with kick-off at Purvis Park at 2.30pm.