ON a day when approximately four inches of water fell in the course of the afternoon, Percy Main and Cullercoats adapted brilliantly to the conditions in a game that was effortlessly and superbly controlled by the ever popular referee Keith Scoffham.
The Gary Hull Memorial Trophy game, in front of an excellent crowd of well-wishers who had come to pay tribute to the popular and respected late Villagers’ treasurer, kicked off in incessant heavy rain that caused the less hardy souls at Newcastle United’s St James’ Park to abandon their match after an hour, but there was never any danger of that with the immaculate Purvis Park pitch allowing the ball to run smoothly and correctly over short and long distances.
This is even more noteworthy when it is remembered that the curtain raiser for this game saw Percy Main Ladies defeat their Ashington counterparts 1-0 over a full 90 minutes.
The major problem on the day was not the pitch but the darkness caused by heavy clouds that only seemed to abate when the occasional flash of lightning illuminated proceedings.
Percy Main got the scoring under way in the third minute when Chris Locke’s deep cross was nodded back across goal by Johnathon McEnaney, allowing Michael Bowman to force it home from almost on the line. John Amos almost doubled the lead on six minutes when a skidding shot flashed across goal.
Cullercoats had a free kick in the area after Rob Rodgerson, deceived by the gloom, had picked up a back pass, but it came to nought.
A fabulous storming run by Malky Morien ended with him leaving half a dozen defenders trailing in his wake, before crashing a low effort against the post, but the ball was cleared.
Main did double their lead after 29 minutes when Michael Bowman’s strong run from defence ended with him slipping the ball through to Kevin Westphal and the player returning from an ankle break at the end of last season, went round the keeper and slid it in to an empty net.
The Cullercoats custodian twice produced stunning stops to block close range efforts by Michael Bowman and Malcolm Morien, before these two players combined to give the Villagers a 3-0 half time lead, when Bowman’s run down the line and cut back was crashed home in glorious, emphatic style by Morien.
In the second half, Main joint managers Jason Ritchie and Gareth Allen rang the changes, sending out a much changed team including keeper Adam Baker, Michael Pittuck, Christopher Bond, James Pocklington, Ryan Laws, Ashley Smyth, Steven Shadforth and Mickey Haley, but there was no end to the home side’s dominance.
After 47 minutes Chris Locke slid on the end of a Westphal cross and the ball somehow ended up over the bar from a yard out. Minutes later Morien showed how it should be done, stabbing home a pass from a no doubt rueful Locke.
On 52 minutes Ashley Smyth made it 5-0, accepting a pass from John Amos and going round an exposed Cullercoats keeper.
Smyth almost had another moments later, but his angled flick dropped a shade wide of the post.
The visitors, managed by former Percy Main stalwart Chris Hunter, kept on going and to their credit pulled a goal back on 63 minutes when an astute chip left keeper Baker grasping for air.
John Amos made it 6-1 ten minutes later, firing home after a Ryan Laws through ball. From then on it was entirely the Main, with Pocklington shooting wide after being set up by a sublime Shadforth back heel.
These two players both were denied when first a glorious Shadforth chip was clawed away from under the bar and Pocklington shot wide from the resulting corner.
The scoring was completed with the last kick of the game when Mickey Haley bent in a tremendous curling effort that was the best finish of the day.
Percy Main: Rob Rodgerson, Chris Locke, Graeme Smith, Tony Browell, Ryan Shave, Kevin Grahamslaw, John Amos, Malcolm Morien, Johnathon McEnaney, Michael Bowman and Kevin Westphal.
Percy Main’s home league campaign starts on Wednesday, August 17, when Ashington Colliers visit Purvis Park for Northern Alliance Premier division game. Kick-off is 6.30pm and all are welcome.