PERCY Main are still without a win after six meetings with Blyth Town since the south east Northumberland side were admitted to the Northern Alliance in the 2002-03 season.
Previous encounters have seen Blyth win four and draw one against Percy Main, hitting 18 goals and conceding only three in the process.
However, until Daniel Beresford hit the home side’s second goal in the 80th minute, Saturday’s game was still much in the balance with Malcolm Morien’s penalty miss for the Villagers five minutes earlier a pivotal moment in the game.
Percy Main player/manager Jason Ritchie was afforded a large squad to choose from, with the fit again Ashley Smyth taking his place in the starting XI, while Adam Batchelor, a former player of the year at Purvis Park who re-signed last week, lined up in the heart of the defence, marking his 50th appearance for the club.
With the benefit of a moderate breeze, Blyth’s Gary Day came close to opening the scoring early on, heading into the hands of goalkeeper Rob Rodgerson only 40 seconds in, and minutes later he hit the base of the post with a shot which was subsequently scrambled to safety by the visitors defence.
Percy Main responded and stated their own attacking intentions as Dean Ellis and Smyth both had efforts deflected behind, and Morien’s dangerous free kick from the left flank just evaded the on-rushing Tony Browell.
Main’s Michael Bowman then sent a curling effort just past the upright while Ellis and Smyth again went close but were unable to get past Scott Earle in the Blyth goal as the game swung from end to end without too many clear cut goalscoring opportunities.
The Main had a let off in the closing minutes of the half as Blyth forced three successive corners which saw Batchelor head clear from Daniel Beresford, Mark Andrews’ shot kicked off the line and Neil Blades’ powerful goal-bound drive cannon off Batchelor and onto the crossbar with the Villagers defender knowing little about it.
Percy Main started the second half on the offensive as Bowman failed to connect properly to Chris Locke’s cross from the right.
But Blyth, not to be out done, went ahead on 54 minutes with a quick break which saw Chris Lisle race clear and steer his low shot home as Villagers custodian Rodgerson advanced to meet him, with questions being asked of the visitors defence.
Enjoying their best spell, having being stung into action, the Main upped the tempo and endeavoured to get back on terms as Graeme Smith’s shot from the edge of the area brought an acrobatic diving save from Earle, while Morien following up could only direct his shot at the goalkeeper, but the linesman had his flag raised for offside.
At the other end, Thomas Haigh headed over the angle.
But Percy Main were handed a lifeline as Locke was adjudged to have been fouled in the area and Morien stepped up to the fore.
But he fired the resultant penalty kick at the base of the same post that Blyth’s Day had struck in the opening minutes. Craig Ewart following up could only direct his shot into the side netting as the opportunity went begging.
As the Villagers pressed, gaps were left at the back, and Blyth almost added a second as Haigh broke down the right and centred for Day who headed just over.
However, this was to prove only a stay of execution as Blyth doubled their tally two minutes later as Day supplied Beresford, who swivelled in the area and fired past Rodgerson with perhaps a hint of offside.
To their credit Percy Main kept going and pressed the home goal as Batchelor brought a diving save from Earle and the home goalkeeper proved his worth by pulling off another acrobatic stop from substitute Jon McEnaney in the minutes added on for stoppages.
This Saturday Percy Man hope to get back to winning ways when they entertain Stocksfield at Purvis Park in another league game, kick-off is 2.30pm.