Percy Main rally to earn point at Killingworth

THE last 15 minutes of Killingworth against Percy Main Amateurs, though it produced no further goals to complement the six already seen, eclipsed the drama of Papiss Cisse’s last second strike in the Europa League and produced a raft of heart-stopping penalty area dramatics that made the Manchester United versus Chelsea FA Cup tie seem like a tame, pre-season kick about.

If ever a game was an advert for the joys of the grassroots game in general, the Northern Alliance in particular and Percy Main Amateurs specifically, this was it. While a draw was a deeply unsatisfying result for a rampant Villagers outfit who had created enough chances to win half a dozen games, it was perhaps morally fitting; both sides contributed an enormous amount to this game and so both sides deserved something from it.

Percy Main, still smarting from last week’s Northumberland FA Benevolent Bowl defeat to Ponteland United, got off to the worst possible start. After three minutes, captain James Leggett conceded a corner that fell to the dangerous Darren Walsh, who fired it home, despite the best efforts of Ryan Laws to get the ball clear. The heavy Killingworth pitch had passed a precautionary inspection following overnight rain and was clearly playable, though not perhaps to the liking of the Main’s squad of agile ball-playing, fleet-footed football artistes; the best of whom was Adrian Watson, who had sparkled as a second half substitute the week before. He carried on in that inimitable style, haring down the left touchline and causing mayhem in the Killingworth defence. One such move produced a half chance for Michael Crame, who swivelled on the six yard line and fired straight at the imposing home keeper, Liam Mooney.

Sadly, it was 2-0 soon afterwards when Callum Benson exchanged passes with the lively Paul Baird, before coolly slotting past the onrushing Rob McGregor. However, the Villagers did not despair and within a minute, Chris Glass had halved the deficit with a very similar goal, though his shot owed more to power than placement. Moments later, it was almost 2-2, when Scott Pocklington profited from some of Watson’s wing wizardy, taking an incisive pass and crashing a full-blooded effort off the crossbar, with Mooney well beaten. Typically though, fortune frowned on the Main when, just before half time, Jordan Miller’s back pass from the left back position was intercepted by Liam Callaghan and, following a block tackle with McGregor, the ball dribbled apologetically over the line.

At 3-1 down, manager Shaun Galbraith’s team talk must have been more inspiration than invective as Percy Main roared out of the blocks in the second half. Within a minute a looping Leggett lob was nodded over his own bar by a backtracking Killingworth defender. On 53 minutes, Dean Ellis jinked in to the box and fired a strong effort that Mooney parried in to the path of Glass, only for the Main man to miss his kick with the goal at his mercy. Further chances to Glass and Watson went begging before Galbraith made a double change, introducing Dean Morgan and Matty Robinson. The latter made a quick impact, by feeding glass for a glorious finish in to the bottom corner across keeper Mooney, to give the Main something to cling on to with 25 minutes remaining.

Further pressure saw an equaliser soon afterwards, when Pocklington’s stylish turn and even more stylish finish tied things up at 3-3, resulting in a 15 minute onslaught where a bewildering number of chances were made and missed at both ends. Robinson was denied in a one-on-one by Mooney, before Leggett kicked a Killingworth effort off the line. Within a minute, Main’s custodian McGregor extended himself to tip away an Edmundson shot.

However, the best was saved for last when Scott Pocklington’s superb free kick from the edge of the area was brilliantly tipped round the post by the athletic Mooney, whose father used to play for Percy Main back in the day.

Soon after, the referee brought an enthralling contest to a close and warm applause rang round Amberley Park for both teams. Percy Main are next in action on Wednesday night, March 20, away to Shankhouse at Northburn Leisure Centre in Cramlington (Kick off 7pm), before visiting Hebburn Reyrolle on Saturday, March 23, when kick off is 2.30pm.