Three days after a positive and professional home performance when Shankhouse were swept easily aside, Percy Main Amateurs endured a deeply frustrating afternoon at Purvis Park on Saturday.
Ten-man Harraby United made the long journey across the A69 to collect three points in a decidedly scrappy encounter they won 2-1.
Six weeks earlier Percy Main had ventured to Carlisle and won by the same scoreline of 2-1 at Harraby’s ground, so the Cumbrians exacted a measure of revenge for that result.
And no one will be more relieved than Harraby’s centre half Matthew Thompson, who saw red after a crazy couple of minutes around the half hour mark.
Kicking off in glorious sunshine, in front of six paying spectators, Percy Main were soon on the attack, with Michael Crame placing a presentable shooting opportunity directly into the midriff of stand-in keeper Matthew Brown.
Dean Ellis launched a long range effort just afterwards that drifted fractionally off target as Main sought an early goal to repeat their impressive opening half showing against Shankhouse, and they almost had it when Scott Pocklington showed great ball juggling skills on the edge of the area before flashing a shot across the face of the goal.
But the opening goal went to the visitors when left back David Fisher powerfully headed home a left wing cross from Daniel Balmer, despite claims by Main’s Dean Morgan that he had been barged away from the ball.
A few minutes later it was almost 2-0 when a free kick from the left by Balmer deceived the home defence and seemed to be creeping in of its own accord when Matthew Thompson arrived at the back post to administer the final touch.
In the view of the assistant referee Thompson had been in an offside position when the ball was played, so the goal was ruled out, with a furious Thompson booked for arguing over the decision.
Seconds later it was immeasurably worse for the Harraby centre back.
Play switched to the other end and with keeper Brown out of position, Rob Ridley fired in a speculative attempt on goal that looked as if it would end up in the side netting.
Thompson, perhaps still chagrined at his earlier misfortune, dived full length to tip the shot away.
The inevitable red card was followed by a Pocklington penalty, his third in three games, that was fired low in to the corner.
Main almost went ahead soon after when Pocklington advanced in to the box and saw keeper Brown save his shot, with the rebound falling to Ryan Laws, whose effort was hacked away from the line, inches from the advancing Jordan Miller.
However, the last action of the half gave the Villagers a warning they did not heed, when lax defending allowed Matthew Bell a free shot only eight yards from goal; thankfully for the home side, he screwed his effort wide, but it was only a temporary reprieve.
After an opening exchange to the second period where Chris Glass took a flighted cross field pass from Dean Ellis first time and fired in a shot that Brown held at the second attempt, Harraby profited from indecision in the middle of the park, allowing Dean Armstrong to finish smartly under the advancing Rob McGregor after a quick break.
The fact that there were still more than 40 minutes to go and that Harraby were down to ten men is a tribute to the visiting Cumbrians and their tenacity, but also an indictment of Main, who showed less composure than was required to unpick a resolute rearguard.
Percy Main’s two best chances were courtesy of the tireless Dean Ellis, who was inches wide with a speculative overhead kick and desperately unlucky to see a 35-yard lob land on the roof of the net with keeper Brown scrambling to regain his ground, though the custodian did cover himself in glory when showing immaculate handling to clutch a Jordan Miller volley just under the bar.
Sadly an increasingly fractious home side were unable to claim something from the game, though a chance to put things right quickly affords itself on Saturday, April 27, when table topping Heaton Stannington are the next visitors to Purvis Park. Kick-off is 2.30pm and all are welcome.