At a rain lashed Purvis Park, Percy Main Amateurs ended the 2012-13 Northern Alliance premier division season in thrilling fashion with a stirring comeback against Killingworth YPC.
It was a quick-fire Scott Pocklington double that rescued a point for the Villagers from a game that had seemed beyond them.
The main story was not the players on the pitch, but the heroic work done to get the game on; the pitch itself held up wonderfully, paying testament to the wonderful, selfless work that goes on by the committee at this football club.
As regards the actual game, the fact that the Main could have been four or five goals up by half-time against a side destined to finish below them in the table was of no particular consequence as what all of the crowd took away from this match was the quality of Percy Main’s attacking play and the indomitable, never-say-die spirit of Shaun Galbraith’s side.
Having won 2-1 away at Shankhouse in midweek, the Villagers came in to this game in confident mood, hoping to round the season off in style with three successive victories.
Pre-match plans were thrown off course as a severe tailback on the Coast Road led to the late arrival of several home players, including the eventual man of the match Pocklington, who arrived with less than a minute to kick-off, running on to the pitch just as the referee was about to start proceedings.
Perhaps this lack of preparation was the reason was Pocklington missed his kick when presented with the first chance after barely a minute’s play. However, there would be plenty others.
After three minutes, Davey Surrey drove in to the Killingworth box, but his effort was saved by the legs of Liam Mooney.
Surrey hit the post with the rebound, but the ball did not fall kindly for any of the waiting Main forwards.
On seven minutes, Rob Ridley appeared in on goal, but Mooney raced from his line to gather the ball.
At the other end, former Percy Main striker Michael Bowman raced through and deftly clipped the ball over keeper Chris Bannon, only to see his effort strike the post and be smuggled up field, giving Chris Bell a chance to open the scoring, until Mooney’s legs made another notable appearance in blocking Bell’s shot.
Against the run of play, Killingworth took the lead when the agile Darren Walsh sprinted away from the Main defence.
Despite a brave block by the ever excellent Bannon, Walsh gathered the loose ball and scored, despite a heroic effort on the line by Ryan Laws.
Main were not rattled and within 90 seconds Bell had again hit Mooney’s legs, while Mark Richardson’s clever sidefoot had struck a backpedaling Killingworth defender and been deflected wide for a corner.
After 30 minutes of incessant Main pressure, the game quietened down, only for Killingworth to double their advantage. Mooney’s prodigious kick downfield hit the unlucky Redmond Cockburn and dribbled over the line.
Shell shocked by this setback, Main took a while to get going in the second period, with Michael Bowman heading home, only to be rightly flagged offside.
Surely and slowly, the home side came back in to things and played some attractive football, but it looked like being a fruitless day when Surrey blazed over an open goal from four yards after great work by Bell.
Immediately afterwards, Richardson was out luck after bending an effort just wide of Mooney’s goal.
Just as time started to run out, Pocklington wrested control of it.
Firstly, he was brought down in the area; picking himself up, he smashed his spot kick in to the bottom left hand corner of the net.
Main had their tails up and from a Bell corner a minute later, Pocklington came near post to bury a fine flicked finish in at the post, to complete the scoring in a game that everyone watching thoroughly enjoyed.
That is the end of Percy Main’s season, but there is the matter of the end of season awards night on Saturday, June 1, at The Wooden Doll in North Shields, to which all supporters of Percy Main are invited.