League leaders made to work hard to edge out Main

PERCY Main Amateurs have been in a rich vein of form of late; consecutive victories against Stocksfield, Seaton Delaval and Ashington Colliers put the Villagers in good heart for the visit of table toppers Amble United

After a tight, engrossing 90 minutes, where the endless choruses of plaintive dissent from the discomfited visitors told of a side unprepared for the ardent challenge of Shaun Galbraith’s rejuvenated Main, Amble will feel mightily relieved and rather flattered to have left Purvis Park with all three points after a narrow 1-0 victory.

Following last week’s dismantling of Ashington Colliers, Galbraith was still forced to ring the changes with several players unavailable or injured; as a result debutants Conor Hale and Steven Craig came in to a squad that was all heart but it must be admitted, lacking in a potent goal threat.

No matter; Galbraith’s men rolled their sleeves up and gave it a real go, with Chris Doig bursting in to the box in the opening exchanges and firing an inviting cross just in front of the on-rushing Davey Surrey.

Soon after, Chris Glass burst strongly in to the box and powered in an effort that visiting keeper Andrew Patterson was relieved to see whistle past the upright and in to the side netting.

Percy Main started the game at full throttle and had much pressure, though an ominous break by Darren Riddell and Ross Gair that ended with the latter whistling a low effort a yard wide, showed why Amble United have been all-comers this season to stand six points clear at the top of the Northern Alliance premier division.

However, they almost fell behind when Mickey Haley’s astute, towering header required Patterson to fingertip over at full stretch on 17 minutes.

On 26 minutes, Amble’s Josh Hay was twice denied in 30 seconds by the Main’s keeper Rob McGregor; firstly with his feet low down by the post and then with a stretch to tip the ball behind when it came back to Hay.

Amble continued to break with both pace and purpose; Riddell was soon cursing his impetuosity when taking a presentable opportunity first time when in space at the edge of the box, firing over from a good position.

The game only remained scoreless at the break when the Main’s dependable full back Lindsay Collinson was in the right place to hack Hay’s goal bound effort away from the line after the Amble forward had glided round McGregor on 44 minutes.

A notice increase in Amble’s urgency could be detected in the opening exchanges of the second period as they became frustrated at being unable to roll the Main over without much effort.

As a result, the game became scrappy for a while, with the best early chance seeing keeper Patterson recovering well after firing a clearance at Glass, but managing to scramble on the loose ball.

Matty Robinson was introduced as a sub soon after for the home side and his first touch was to fire in an accurate low drive that Patterson held comfortably.

Soon after, Haley was inches over with a well-judged looping header from a Dean Ellis corner.

A discernible increase in the game’s quality could be discerned, much to the approval of 80 year old Percy Main Ronnie Robinson who was an honoured guest of the club at the game. He was almost cheering when Chris Doig ghosted in at the near post and flicked a Dean Morgan pass just past the post.

Sadly, moments later the game was up as Riddell streaked away down the left and provided a perfect cut back for Hay to emphatically stroke the ball past McGregor from ten yards.

Moments later it could have been 2-0 in similar circumstances, but McGregor kept the Main in it by smothering Hay’s shot.

Sadly, other than a James Leggett header over the bar, the Main were unable to threaten an equaliser, but can take the positives from another encouraging performance.

On Saturday Percy Main are away to Killingworth in a Northern Alliance premier division game. Kick-off at Amberley Park is 2pm.