Main denied cup final by penalty shoot-out

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PERCY Main missed out on the chance of a fourth cup final in three seasons, losing by the lottery of penalty kicks following 120 minutes of end to end football in which both sides played their part and could have won the game in open play.

However, Seaton Delaval were indebted to goalkeeper Stephen Mundy, who pulled of a breathtaking save from The Main’s Michael Bowman in what turned out to be the very last kick of the game to ensure the contest was decided by penalties.

Percy Main manager Jason Ritchie was forced to juggle the pack due to injury and unavailability of key players, but the visiting contingent welcomed back Chris Locke, who took to the field for the first time since sustaining a bad injury against Peterlee in October last year, who turned in a solid performance in midfield.

If the game had been due to take part 24 hours earlier it would have been a certain non starter due to the previous day’s frost and would have been the latest to fall victim to the weather, but thankfully an overnight thaw ensured the game went ahead as planned.

Bowman, who had weighed in with a brace on Percy Main’s last outing at Killingworth a fortnight ago, almost broke the deadlock with only 15 seconds on the clock by racing clear and firing against the crossbar, while Locke following up came agonisingly close to connecting.

Despite the timing of Bowman’s effort, it was to be The Villagers best chance of the half as the home side took control and The Main’s goal led a charmed life as Seaton Delaval seized the initiative and pressed the visitors back into their own half.

Craig Cook headed into the hands of Rob Rodgerson in The Main goal, while Neil Johnstone’s effort was hacked from the line by Mick Haley.

With little respite, Rodgerson went full length to thwart Craig Johnson, and minutes later the same forward, played in by Michael Fenwick, rattled the underside of the crossbar with a shot which bounced downwards, giving the home side loud cries for a goal.

Delaval’s Stephen Hawes then hit the base of the post with a header, before the handily positioned Dean Ellis cleared from the line from Craig Cook’s goal bound effort.

Therefore it was no real surprise when the home side took the lead with the half time whistle approaching as Jordan Fry played in Fenwick who gave Rodgerson no chance by drilling low into the corner of the net.

Percy Main however were a different side after the break and soon restored parity with a quality strike as Malcolm Morien down the left flank, slipped the ball through to Graeme Smith and the full back produced a clinical right footed finish from the edge of the area for his first goal of the season.

At the other end Fenwick blazed over for the home side, but Mundy proved his undoubted worth by denying the industrious Bowman twice in as many minutes.

Cook for the home side should have perhaps done better but miscued when well placed, while Rodgerson saved Craig Johnson’s long range effort, as the game ran into extra time and the heavy pitch began to take it’s toll on tired legs.

The beginning of the first period saw the unchallenged Morien head over from Jason Ritchie’s perfectly weighted free kick, when a goal looked odds on while substitute Steven Shadforth fired into the hands of Mundy.

The second period of extra time saw Percy Main press without making the vital breakthrough, but it looked as though Bowman’s shot from the edge of the area had goal written all over it before Mundy produced the save of the game to take the contest to penalties.

In the end Seaton Delaval edged the tie 4-2 as Fenwick, Luke Newtron, Steven Gray and Geoff Allison scored the all important kicks.

Percy Main are in cup action again this Saturday and travel to Amble United in the third round of the George Dobbins League Cup, kick-off is 1.30pm, and a trip to Heaton Stannington awaits the victors in the next round.