Percy Main leave it late in Challenge Cup

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Following last week’s league cup exit at the hands of Northern Alliance second division side Longbenton, Percy Main were determined to maintain an interest in the league’s all premier division Challenge Cup against Hebburn.

But they were made to wait until the 93rd minute to finally secure the victory they deserved.

Once again the similarities with the Longbenton game were all too easy to see as the Main created and missed chances, including an early penalty saved by Hebburn custodian Steven Quinn.

They conceded an 89th minute equaliser which looked as though it would take the game into extra time, following a highly eventful last few minutes of the tie.

Any hopes that Percy Main had of making a bright start were dashed with only ten seconds played a Dan Murray took advantage of early hesitancy in the home defence to slot home the opener.

Stung into action the Villagers responded, Darren Walsh missing a good chance before a challenge on Jordan Miller who had wriggled into the area, was deemed, perhaps harshly to be a foul, but Quinn, who impressed for Hebburn throughout, was equal to James Leggett’s penalty kick, with barely five minutes played.

Joe Betts, back from injury, was prominent for the Main, sending a couple of efforts narrowly off target, while the home side forced a succession of corners without being able to capitalise.

And Quinn once again preserved his side’s lead to deny Miller with a diving save on the stroke of half-time.

Percy Main kept up the momentum after the break as Leggett headed over from Rob Ridley’s free kick.

But parity was eventually restored on 52 minutes as Betts played a tremendous diagonal through ball which split the Hebburn defence and Chris Laidlaw fired home from just inside the area.

The visitors were reduced to ten men on the hour as Bede Finnigan was adjudged to have used his elbow on Laidlaw, receiving a red card for his troubles.

With the recent leveller and now numerical advantage, the Main pressed yet were still unable to convert their possession into goals.

Walsh just failed to get on the end of a Ridley cross, Quinn saved well from Miller and tipped behind another effort from Laidlaw.

Despite the pressure it was Hebburn who came closest to wrapping the tie up in the 83rd minute of normal time.

Alex Lovatt cut in from the right and fired a venomous shot which rattled the far upright, and Dominic Solomon, first to the ball, looked odds on to score, but Reece Dobie in the home goal pulled off a superb point blank stop.

The save seemed to inspire the Villagers and three minutes later it was Percy Main who were celebrating as Ridley’s measured ball into the area was fired home by Miller to what would surely wrap the tie up for the Villagers.

But the spirited Hebburn side had other ideas and quickly countered with the clock ticking down.

Steven Cockburn made space for himself and ran on to fire past the dive of Dobie to level matters once again.

With the 90 minutes played and extra time looming, incredibly there was another twist in the tale as Betts was up ended in the area for Percy Main’s second penalty of the afternoon, and Miller stepped up to confidently fire home the winning goal of the game.

This Saturday Percy Main revert back to the chase for league points and will host Gateshead Rutherford at Purvis Park. Kick-off is 2.30pm.