Main denied a win by desperate defending

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PERCY Main last won a home league game on August 25 last year when Cramlington Town were beaten 2-1, as in the five subsequent games the Villagers have lost two and drawn three.

As Stocksfield headed hometo the Tyne Valley they would no doubt have given a rueful chuckle at the result of this game.

Main had enough chances to win a whole season’s worth of games and could easily have notched half a dozen goals in the second half alone.

Stocksfield had three efforts on target all game.

The first saw Ryan Marshall hit the base of the post from point blank range after great work by Steven Forster down the right.

The second was when Main’s custodian Rob Rodgerson made a magnificent one-handed stop from Marshall after 43 minutes.

The third was Wayne Stewart’s goal. When the Stocksfield midfielder drilled home a low finish it was the classic sucker punch, coming as it did after more than an hour of incessant pressure by the Main.

The tone for the game was set with barely 90 seconds on the clock when Rodgerson’s kick was flicked on by Malky Morien at the edge of the area to Graeme Smith, whose goal bound shot was blocked by the legs of goalkeeper Peter Adnit in the first of an impressive series of unconventional stops, blocks and parries that were to thwart the Villagers.

Making his debut for Percy Main was recent signing from Killingworth, Kevin Westphal, and he gave John Amos a decent chance to shoot when he won the ball in midfield, but the Main striker’s effort whistled a shade wide of the target.

From a similar distance Adnit made a desperate grasp to hold on to a sweet Chris Locke strike after 19 minutes.

Westphal was getting through an impressive amount of work on the left and was out of luck twice in as many minutes half way through the first period when one shot drifted wide of the post and another was bundled away by a posse of desperate Stocksfield defenders.

After the break, the Main onslaught continued with Westphal again involved, setting up Morien who shot at Adnit.

If this was straightforward, several other misses were almost unbelievable in the eyes of those watching.

After 55 minutes Amos fed the impressive Ziggy Ewart, who seemed certain to score until his effort hit the defender on the line. Chris Locke collected the loose ball and crossed for Morien whose header was unconvincingly finger-tipped away by Adnit.

Seconds before Stocksfield scored their breakaway goal, Locke again marauded down the right, setting up Ewart, whose first time effort hit the post.

Following the Stocksfield goal, the Main regrouped, with top scorer Tony Browell up from the back only to see a header knocked off the line. The ball fell to Browell’s centre back partner Adam Batchelor, who saw his header confidently held by Adnit.

Just as desperation began to be a threat, the Main got back on level terms, with Morien’s astute through ball feeding substitute Bowman who, having broken the offside trap, waltzed round the keeper before tapping into an empty net.

It was a relief and no less than the impressive home team deserved.

It could, of course, have been the precursor of a routine win.

Morien saw a free kick deflected just wide after 77 minutes, before substitute Ashley Smyth was the next home striker to see an effort seemingly destined for the top corner hit a defender.

A frantic last ten minutes saw unrelenting wave after wave of Main attacks, but the Stocksfield defence rode their luck and Adnit’s goal led a charmed life.

This was clearly two points dropped, but an encouraging performance.

With some luck in front of goal, Percy Main Amateurs will go in to this weekend’s home game against Ashington Colliers in the semi-final of the Northumberland FA Senior Benevolent Bowl in good heart. Kick-off at Purvis Park is 2pm.