It was another improved showing from Percy Main, who following a run of four straight defeats prior to last Saturday’s win over Ashington Colliers, have now taken four points from their last two games.
However after going in at the interval 2-0 up, Percy Main will look back on the final outcome as two points dropped rather than a point gained, but on the balance of play a draw over the 90 minutes was probably a fair result.
Over the course of the afternoon, Rutherford had the lions share of the possession, but a terrific display by the Main’s back line, with some determined tackling which went some way to thwart the home forwards, coupled by a series of impressive saves from 16-year-old goalkeeper Reece Dobie, meant that the Villagers were always in with a chance of taking the points.
Team managers Chris Hunter and Richard Nugent were handed a blow pre match with the news that Micky Haley and Redmond Rockburn were ruled out due to injury as both had impressed of late, but that left the door open for the return of the fit again Ryan Laws, who partnered Dean Ellis for the full back berths and Jack Taylor another recent acquisition from Blyth Town, slotted in alongside captain James Leggett at the heart of his team’s defence.
Rutherford had made a decent start to the season, but had faltered of late and found themselves a bit too near the bottom of the Northern Alliance premier division table for comfort and having won the toss elected to take advantage of a quite strong wind and the low sun which threatened the vision of Dobie during the first half.
After Sean Wilkinson had fired a free kick into the Percy Main wall, the visitors created their first chance as Ross Berkeley robbed Will Forsyth and fed Chris Laidlaw, whose ball into the area found Gareth Armstrong, but last week’s two goal hero shot narrowly off target.
Rutherford were looking to seize the initiative and forced a string of corners, Eddy Keenan was the taker of those on the left hand side and he saw Sam Moore’s header turned behind and Kevin Bruynson in space, delayed and his shot was scrambled behind in what was seen as a let off for the Villagers, while Danny Hill stole in on the blind side, but delayed his shot giving the Main’s defence time to clear.
As the half wore on Percy Main grew more confident and playing against the elements went ahead after 24 minutes. Laidlaw who once again had a sterling game, played the ball in from the left, which helped on by Rob Watson, fell to Sean Smith who drilled home from close range, while a statuesque home defence looked on.
Things got even better for the Villagers only three minutes later as Dean Ellis played a long ball into the area from the right and the ball only half cleared by the Rutherford defence fell to Armstrong who fired low and hard into the bottom corner to double his side’s lead.
Laidlaw sent a speculative effort just over the crossbar, but the rest of the half belonged to Rutheford as Forsyth’s low free kick was tipped round the post by Dobie, Moore’s turn and snap shot on the edge of the area was well held by the goalkeeper, while Taylor’s determined, well timed and vital challenge on Bruynson on the edge of the area typified the Percy Main defending throughout the game.
With what appeared to be a strengthening wind behind the Main in the second half, Laws fired off target and Sean Smith saw his effort deflected behind for a corner, however, Rutherford threw themselves a lifeline just past the hour mark with a goal which was not without controversy.
Forsyth’s corner was played out to Keenan who fired home through a crowd of players. Following loud appeals from the visitors, the referee’s assistant flagged for an offside decision then appeared to take his flag down and after consultation with the man in the middle, the goal was given.
Laws then made a great challenge on Hill bearing down on goal, having been played in by Danny Summers, while Keenan and Elliott Dodd went close to restoring parity for the home side.
There were further chances at both ends as Keenan’s effort was Rutherford was deflected behind for a corner, while Matty Robinson on for Berkeley forced a smart save from Jimmy Davidson in the Rutherford goal.
With the clock ticking down, Dobie saved well from Alan Summers, but seconds later the home side eventually got themselves back on terms with only six minutes remaining as Dan Johnstone’s shot from out wide on the right deceived the goalkeeper to bulge the top corner of the net.
This Saturday, Percy Main are at home to Killingworth in another league game which will kick off at 2pm.