On paper Percy Main’s home game against Hexham would have gone down as a home banker, but as so often happens in football, things often do not quite go to form.
And this turned out to be the case on Saturday as the visitors, who prior to the game were third bottom, beat the Northern Alliance division one’s long term leaders.
The corresponding league game at Hexham’s Wentworth Park had resulted in a narrow 1-0 win for the Villagers back in early November thanks to an 85th minute strike by Jorge Bollado on his debut, and while the same forward registered again against Hexham, his efforts were to ultimately go unrewarded as the visitors did most of the damage midway through the second half, hitting two goals in six minutes.
Percy Main for their part will rue some questionable defending, and while it was only the second home league game this season they had failed to win, it comes after back to back defeats at Newcastle University and Lindisfarne, following a run of seven consecutive victories.
It has not exactly set the alarm bells ringing as Main still lead the table by a healthy 11 points over AFC Newbiggin, who do have three games in hand, while the sides meet on Saturday coming in what is likely to be a hotly contested top of the table clash.
With the score level at 1-1 at the interval, the second half undoubtedly provided the better entertainment for those inside the ground as the game opened up.
Thomas North provided the early highlight for the visitors with only four minutes on the clock as he executed a prefect chip from 20 yards which evaded Rob Rodgerson in the home goal to give the visitors an impromptu lead.
Percy Main welcomed back Stu Wright to bolster the attack and although not quite match fit, he almost restored parity on the quarter hour mark as Ryan Laws’ deep ball into the area found Wright who headed powerfully goalwards only for Hexham goalkeeper Sean Heads to pull off a superb diving save.
Hexham’s Luke Parkinson saw his long range free kick well held by Rodgerson and Chris Laidlaw fired over for the Villagers, but Wright made a telling contribution three minutes before the interval with a great run and cross from the left which found Bollado who levelled in style.
Half chances came and went at both ends after the interval, Laidlaw saw his attempted chip held by Heads and Davey Surrey tried a long range effort for Main which was just too high, while North for Hexham with another long range shot on goal sent Rodgerson scrambling.
But it was the visitors who restored their lead on 73 minutes as Curtis Harvey stretched to convert a low right wing centre despite the desperate attentions of James Leggett.
Percy Main introduced top scorer Dan Sneap to the fray and he just failed to get on the end of another Laws cross, while the home side had a let off as Parkinson found himself in the clear but over ran the ball.
Had he made the most of the opportunity Hexham would have found themselves with a two-goal advantage, but instead found themselves pegged back for the second time in the game as Surrey’s long ball was cleverly back headed into the net by Sneap for his 14th of the season.
Any hopes that the second equaliser would have inspired the home side to go on and win the game were dispelled three minutes later as Parkinson, finding himself with a free kick from an acute angle out wide on the right, somehow managed to fire the ball in at the far post for Hexham’s third.
Main endeavoured to hit back for a third time, but Hexham’s defence held firm and the visitors inflicted what turned out to be only the fourth league defeat of the season on a Percy Main side who will hope to get back to winning ways this weekend.