Percy Main unable to bridge gap in standard of divisions

Despite taking an early lead against Northern Alliance premier division side Red House Farm, Percy Main went out of the Northumberland Senior Benevolent Bowl at the first hurdle as the visitors scored three goals within 20 minutes either side of the interval.

Main, who were unbeaten since suffering a 3-1 reverse at Northbank Carlisle in the League Cup on September 6, were unable to replicate their early season league form which has seen the side win nine and draw one from their first ten games.

But in reflection, with a bit more luck and some better finishing during the first half, the final outcome may have been different.

Red House who currently occupy second slot in the table behind season long leaders Blyth Town, looked decidedly shaky during the opening exchanges, but once into their stride, illustrated the gulf in standard between the first and premier division with former Whitley Bay player Martin Soulsby in particular catching the eye in the visitors forward line.

The game burst into life early on and Percy Main took the lead with only three minutes played as Ryan Laws from midfield found Dan Sneap on the right hand side of the area and his cushioned header fell perfectly for Joe Betts who drove the ball home for his fourth goal of the season.

It was just the start the home side wanted.

Minutes later at the other end, Soulsby brought a diving save from Rob Rodgerson in the home goal following a mazy run which had took him clear of Main’s defence, while Micky Haley made a desperate goal line clearance to thwart the same forward.

Red House loudly appealed that the ball had crossed the line, while Percy Main defenders claimed with justification that there had been an offside infringement during the build-up, so perhaps justice was done.

Rodgerson again did well to deny Chris Mann from former Villagers midfielder Kevin Grahamslaw’s deep ball into the area, but Main spurned a good chance to double their lead on 24 minutes as Sneap’s long range effort was parried by Alex Curran in the visitors goal, but Sam Thompson following up blazed over.

Curran again prevented the home side from adding to their tally, saving from Sneap with his legs.

But the Percy Main defence were caught well and truly napping five minutes before the break as a quickly taken free kick allowed the visitors to advance down the left and the unmarked Rees Farndell slotted home from close range.

As the first half drew to a close, both goalkeepers were called into action as Sneap fired a powerful shot directly at Curran who was able to block, while Lee Dunn found Soulsby and his low drive was acrobatically tipped around the post by Rodgerson.

The second half had barely got under way as Betts, played in by Thompson, endeavoured to put his side back in front, but fired too high.

The miss was to prove costly as Soulsby found Rob Bailey, whose looping effort gave his side the advantage for the first time in the afternoon.

Worse was to follow for Percy Main as Soulsby forced Rodgerson to tip behind for a corner before the same forward scored the visitors’ third goal with a low strike just before the hour mark.

Soulsby then sent a free kick narrowly over the crossbar, while Main’s best chance came during the dying minutes as Adam Green’s measured ball in from the right flank was headed just over by the on-rushing substitute Ben Gardener.

Percy Main are in cup action again this Saturday and travel to Bigges Main to take on Wallsend Boys Club Seniors in the second round of the Combination cup, kick-off 2pm.