Newbiggin knock Percy Main out of Challenge Cup

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A week after going out of the League Cup to Seaton Delaval, Percy Main were knocked out of the Challenge Cup by AFC Newbiggin on Saturday.

Once again the Villagers found themselves shorn of key players due to injury, suspension and unavailability, with the management team seemingly unable to field a settled side from one week to the next - a telling factor in the side’s early season showings.

The incessant morning’s rain had thankfully more or less abated by kick-off, to the relief of another sizeable crowd, which included a healthy contingent from Newbiggin.

But a downpour at the start of the second half made the Purvis Park surface slippery and ultimately, which frustratingly for the Villagers, played a vital and deciding factor in the visitors’ second and winning goal, which came via the penalty spot.

Both clubs were promoted from the Northern Alliance first division at the end of last season, Main as champions, while Newbiggin, who had reformed only 4 years ago in the North Northumberland League and had been promoted in each of their previous campaigns, have definitely adapted to life in the league’s top tier the better.

Last season’s league game between the sides at Purvis Park had also resulted in a 2-1 success for Newbiggin with Mark Humble scoring first for the visitors.

And history was to repeat itself as Humble who had seen an early effort touched around the post by Rob Rodgerson in the Percy Main goal, opened the scoring on 14 minutes as he slotted home from Reece Farrell’s low centre.

It was Percy Main who were next to show as Dean Ellis fired a free kick, awarded for a foul on the hard-working Stew Wright, just past the post, and Ant Ridley fired over, while the visitors threatened once more as Wright was dispossessed and John Bone shot just over the angle from 25 yards.

As play swung each way it was Main who were next to register and drew level on 36 minutes with a great move as Graeme Smith in midfield sprayed the ball diagonally to the right side of the area for Jorge Bollado who ran on and squared for Ridley who converted from close range.

As half-time approached it was the visitors who went close as Brett Aisbett made ground down the left and centred low for the on-rushing Humble, who slid in on goal but was unable to get the vital touch.

Rodgerson kept the visitors at bay once more, saving from Aisbett who threatened down the left, while Bone and Humble once more went close before the Villagers’ Wright volleyed over from Jack Armstrong’s cross.

The deciding goal came on 74 minutes and owed a great deal to the elements as the lively Aisbett advanced into the right side of the area, checked back and the sliding Wayne McDine made contact with the forward’s legs. Despite objections from the home side, a penalty was awarded and Farrell duly obliged from the spot.

Despite their best efforts, neither side found themselves able to add to their respective tallies during the closing minutes, substitute Kieran Rudd saw his goal bound shot blocked for Main, while at the other end Aisbett fastened onto a long clearance from defence and finding himself in the clear fired wide.

Percy Main will face last season’s league champions and current leaders Blyth Town at Purvis Park on Saturday in a game which will get under way at the unusual time of noon. This is to avoid a clash with the nearby North Shields v Whitley Bay game (3pm kick-off) and enable supporters to see two games in one day.