DESPITE two months inactivity, Pery Main and Killingworth played their part in what turned out to be an absorbing contest at Killingworth’s Amberley Park ground.
But in the end it was the visitors who deservedly advanced to the semi-final of the Challenge Cup on a chilly afternoon which had once again decimated much of the Northern Alliance programme.
Full marks to the home side who had pulled out all the stops to get the already twice postponed game on as the previous day’s heavy frost and subsequent overnight rain once again gave cause for concern, but following a morning inspection the pitch was deemed perfectly playable.
With the recent inclement weather even disrupting training, The Main’s players could perhaps be forgiven if they were found to have been a little ring rusty going in against a side just beneath them in the premier division, but this proved not to be the case as player manager Jason Ritchie ,serving a one match suspension, directed proceedings from the dugout and was happy with the response from his players.
Facing what was a fairly stiff breeze, Percy Main made the early running as Luc Coiffait and Mick Haley went close in the opening five minutes, but it was Killingworth who seized the initiative and opened the scoring on the quarter hour mark as Kevin Grahamslaw fired home in some style from the edge of the area.
Lee Gray for The Main denied Kevin Westfall with what turned out to be a crucial challenge in the area only minutes later, but Percy Main restored parity as Michael Bowman raced clear down the left and squared for John Amos who made no mistake.
Five minutes later The Villagers took the lead as Dean Ellis, who had a superb game in the visitors midfield, was upended midway through the Killingworth half and Malcolm Morien’s resultant free kick was only half cleared by the home defence and it fell to Bowman who scored.
As the half drew to a close Amos tested Killingworth goalkeeper Aiden Ames with a long range effort while Morien’s deep cross from the left flank just evaded the on rushing Tony Browell as The Main pressed.
Following the restart, Bowman swivelled and sent a shot just over Ames’ crossbar, while Gray looked as though he may have been tripped in the area, but no penalty was given.
Killingworth rallied and levelled matters once more on 53 minutes as the home forwards peppered The Villagers goal, but Grahamslaw proved deadly for the second time in the afternoon with another effort from the edge of the area, not dissimilar to his opening goal to even things up.
But once again the stalemate was not to last.
Indeed only six minutes later those present witnessed what was undoubtedly the goal of the game, initialised by Percy Main’s Coiffait deep inside his own half.
He played an astute pass down the left to substitute Jon McEnaney who ran on and sent over an exquisite crossfield ball for Bowman who took it in his stride before slotting expertly past Ames.
Killingworth pressed during the closing stages and Jay McAnespie, who had scored his side’s counter in the 1-1 draw played out during the league meeting back in August, sent over a long range effort which was just wide and Jorge Bollardo blazed over.
Bowman should have perhaps have had a hat-trick but miscued when well placed following good work by Morien, while Bollardo’s long range effort which beat Rob Rodgerson in The Main goal was ruled out for offside.
Percy Main had the final say and wrapped up the scoring in injury time as Coiffait played the ball out of defence and McEnaney cleared any doubts of offside by running from his own half, which ended in him squeezing the ball under the despairing dive of Ames.
Percy Main revert to league duty this Saturday and entertain Shankhouse at Purvis Park, kick-off is 2pm.