Percy Main’s seemingly relentless march at the top of the Northern Alliance first division continued as Cramlington Town became the latest to succumb to the Villagers’ superb run of recent form.
The table toppers have hit 30 goals from their last seven games, all which have been won and in some style.
Saturday’s 6-0 scoreline was perhaps a little harsh on the visitors who battled and probed throughout, while home goalkeeper Rob Rodgerson was not idle, but it will stay long in the memory of those who were fortunate to be at the game for a couple of absolutely stunning goals by Joe Betts and in particular Dan Sneap, whose second of the afternoon would have graced any game.
Percy Main had beaten Cramlington 3-2 during the opening month of the season in a game which was as close as the result suggested, while Main’s last run out a fortnight ago had resulted in a 4-1 victory over Birtley St Joseph’s. Yet despite the win and performance, the side were guilty of squandering numerous chances.
This time the Villagers were absolutely clinical in the final third of the field, had far less goal scoring opportunities than the Birtley game, yet ran up the emphatic tally to record their second biggest win of the season.
Those who wondered if the previous week’s inactivity due to the inclement weather may have produced a slow start, saw the visitors make the early running and send out a warning.
Jordan Walsh fired a free kick into the hands of Rodgerson and Victor Jefferson drilled low across Main’s six-yard box to which none of his team-mates were able to capitalise.
In reply, Percy Main came closest on the quarter hour mark as Micky Haley met Davey Surrey’s right wing corner but his effort was inches past the post.
But the early stalemate was not to last and the deadlock was broken a minute later with a peach of a goal, as Betts turned on the angle of the penalty area and curled a glorious shot inside the far post.
It was a finish of the highest quality and deserved the applause afforded to it.
Undeterred, Cramlington exerted a spell of pressure on the home goal, following a succession of corners to which Jake Dutton fired over and David Mason and Walsh again tried their luck, but to no avail.
Perhaps if one of those chances had have counted the final outcome may have been different, but Percy Main hit back with a vengeance as Jorge Bollado flicked on to put Betts in the clear and the Villagers’ front runner finished in style past Kevin Long in the Cramlington goal.
There was to be no respite and it was 3-0 on 32 minutes as Ant Ridley lofted the ball over the visitors defence for Chris Laidlaw whose run and low shot found the same corner of the net as Betts second goal only seven minutes earlier.
It was Laidlaw’s eighth goal of the season and was a superb finish.
Dwayne Murray, who has figured in defence since his early season switch from Heddon, was pushed into a midfield role and almost registered, but his header was just too high, while Josh Walsh rattled Rodgerson’s crossbar as the visitors endeavoured to get a foothold back in the game.
Cramlington started the second half on the offensive, Rodgerson saved Mason’s effort with his legs and pulled off a point blank save from a close range header by the division’s top scorer Danny McDonald, and after forcing another two corners, Jefferson headed narrowly over.
At the other end, Betts was denied his hat-trick by the crossbar with a free kick from just outside the area, which evaded the visitors defence.
Percy Main’s fourth arrived on 67 minutes and owed a great deal to good fortune as Laidlaw’s seemingly innocuous ball into the area forced an error in the visitors defence which in turn presented Sneap, on as a substitute only six minutes earlier, with the easiest if chances to slot the ball into an empty net.
The goal was an untidy one from a defensive point of view, but Sneap’s second only eight minutes later was anything but.
Micky Haley centred from the right and Sneap with his back to goal and on the edge of the area, produced a stunning overhead bicycle kick which beat Long all ends up.
It was a goal highly reminiscent of Trevor Sinclair’s FA cup strike for QPR against Barnsley in 1997 which was subsequently voted goal of the season.
After Marc Nixon went close for Cramlington, Percy Main wrapped up the scoring on 81 minutes as Surrey, who once again excelled in his side’s midfield, played a great ball through for Rob Watson who confidently slotted home his side’s sixth.
This Saturday Percy Main travel to Cochrane Park to take on Newcastle University, kick-off is 2pm.