Percy Main got exactly what they deserved from their game with Hebburn Reyrolle as the visitors took the points with a merited win at Purvis Park.
In truth they could have won by a greater margin but for some wasteful finishing and a couple of debatable penalty decisions which went the way of the home side.
Going into the game with three wins from their last four outings, including a 3-2 victory over Hebburn in the League Challenge Cup a fortnight ago, optimism was high in the home camp as a rejuvenated Villagers side looked to have what it takes to pull away from the lower reaches of the Northern Alliance premier league table.
Midfielder Rob Ridley, a mid-season signing from Blyth Town last term and who had been instrumental in his side’s improved showings of late, was ruled out due to injury and this turned out to be a key factor in the Main’s defeat, although no excuses could be made in what was a quite abject performance.
During the first half in particular, the Main managed to penetrate Hebburn’s defence now and again, but goalkeeper Steve Quinn found himself relatively untroubled.
That said Matty Robinson brought a smart block from the Hebburn custodian early doors and Joe Betts fired over from the rebound, while Redmond Cockburn’s shot was also too high following a near exchange with Betts.
Hebburn for their part tested 16 year old Reece Dobie in the home goal, playing his fourth game for the club, who firstly saved Dan Murray’s effort with his feet and then competently held Chris Ives header from David Smith’s in swinging right wing free kick.
Percy Main’s best chance of the first half came as Chris Laidlaw showed great vision and played a slide rule ball through to Betts, but his low shot with Quinn racing from his line just cleared the far post.
At the other end there were loud penalty appeals as Ives was challenged by Antonie Ridley just inside the area and the visitors should have perhaps gone in front just before half-time as Murray was unable to connect properly when well positioned in the area.
After the break, Hebburn’s Steven Cockburn played a diagonal pass into Jonathon Basham, but his shot flew across the face of goal, while the Main almost broke the deadlock on the hour as Laidlaw was upended on the edge of the area and Betts curling free kick looked destined for the top corner, but Quinn managed to somehow tip the ball onto the post and away to safety.
This in effect was Percy Main’s last real threat at Hebburn’s goal and it was the visitors who did the pressing during the closing stages, David Smith fired across the goal and Ridley’s challenge on Basham again provoked angry appeals fro the visitors which were once again turned down by the referee.
Inevitably for the home contingent, the visitors broke the deadlock and scored what turned out to be the only goal of the game on 79 minutes as Ives cut into the area and fired low past the dive of Dobie to give his side a vital three points.
Percy Main are in cup action this Saturday and face local rivals Whitley Bay A at Purvis Park in the first round of the Northumberland Senior Benevolent Bowl. Kick-off is at the earlier time of 2pm.