League leaders Percy Main extend their winning run

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Percy Main’s winning run continued at the expense of Birtley St Joseph’s in a game which the Villagers dominated.

But they should have run up a far more convincing scoreline but for some wasteful finishing, particularly during the first half, and an assured display by the over-worked Birtley custodian Kevin Quigley, who was making his debut for the visitors.

Statistically wise, it was Main’s sixth consecutive victory since the 2-1 reverse at home to AFC Newbiggin on November 22, during which time the Purvis Park side have scored 26 goals, while the latest victory in keeping with games of late saw four different scorers on target, and when Rob Watson wrapped things up in the 90th minute, he became the 19th Villagers player to register this season.

Birtley are one of only two sides to have beaten Main in league action this season, that deserved win coming on November 1 courtesy of a 2-1 verdict, but the visitors never looked like repeating the feat and found themselves under the cosh for much of the game.

After Adam Green had given Percy Main the lead just three minutes in, the mystery was how it took another 44 minutes before another goal arrived in the home side’s favour.

Apart from the opening goal, Percy Main carved out no less than 11 clear goal scoring opportunities during the opening period, which ultimately went unrewarded.

Those present had barely time to gather their places before Ant Ridley cleverly swept the ball cross-field for Green, who raced all of 70 yards to bear down on goal and fire past the dive of Quigley.

It was just the start the home side wanted and galvanised into action they attacked the Birtley goal at will.

Ryan Laws sent a 25-yard effort just wide, Quigley went full length to deny Sam Thompson and with a quarter of an hour gone Graham Allen released Green who bore down on the right side of the area and smacked the ball against the post with the goalkeeper well beaten.

As play centred in the visitors’ final third, Birtley’s Jason Snowball almost put through his own goal and Chris Laidlaw through on goal was thwarted by Quigley who saved with his legs.

Chances came and went, Thompson, Dwayne Murray, Dave Surrey, Laws and Laidlaw again, with little seen of the visitors’ attacking intentions.

But with the second half only two minutes old, Percy Main finally doubled their lead as the busy Surrey supplied Laidlaw on his 50th appearance for the club and he drove the ball home.

Surrey almost got on the scoresheet himself with a stinging effort from 20 yards which was tipped over by Quigley, and from the resultant corner James Leggett bundled the ball just wide.

Birtley battled gamely, Dan Waller saw his dangerous cross headed behind for a corner and following a foul on the left, Dan Hill’s free kick was scrambled home by Tony Smith from close range to half the deficit and give the visitors brief hope that a comeback may have been on the cards.

Sadly for Birtley that hope was not to last as Main restored their two-goal advantage on 71 minutes.

Redmond Cockburn’s free kick was half cleared to the edge of the area and Jorge Bollado fired home, albeit with the aid of a deflection.

Birtley’s James Bowman fired over for the visitors while Quigley again saved from Laidlaw, but the scoring was completed in the last minute of the game.

This time Bollado, on as a substitute for Joe Betts, turned provider as his through ball found Watson who ran on to produce an exquisite finish over the head of the advancing Quigley.

This Saturday Percy Main are at home once more and face Gosforth Bohemians at Purvis Park, kick-off 2pm.