Following a run of six successive defeats, Percy Main hit back with a stirring victory to beat Wallington.
Although it was essentially a gutsy team performance that ultimately deserved more than the narrow 1-0 margin of victory, there were outstanding showings from recent signing Robert Carr, who commanded the heart of his team’s defence and was pivotal in keeping what was to be only his side’s second clean sheet of the season.
Scott Purcell down the right flank tormented the visitors throughout the afternoon while the excellent Redmond Cockburn’s work rate was outstanding as he just about covered every blade of grass during the contest.
The Main’s management team were handed a blow pre-match when centre forward Stewart Wright was ruled out due to injury.
But Sam Thompson proved an able deputy and like Carr was making only his second appearance for the club, and he netted what turned out to be the all important goal in the second half.
Back in August 10 last year, Wallington had got their season off to the best possible start with a 4-0 win over Percy Main at their scenic Oakford Park ground in Scots Gap, but there was to be no repeat this time around and if the Villagers can carry on this type of performance into their remaining four games, there is no reason why the side cannot pull well clear from the division’s relegation zone.
Wallington asked the questions during the opening minutes.
Jordan Nellis, who had scored twice in the earlier meeting between the sides, was first to try his luck with a shot which just cleared the crossbar after robbing Ryan McKee in the home side’s midfield.
Then the visitors had penalty appeals turned down after John Paxton tangled with Cockburn in the area.
Nellis threatened once more as he turned and curled a shot just past the far post from Jake Walton’s throw, and Justin Millican fired into the side netting from Alex Slack’s corner.
The Main passed by a chance on the quarter hour mark as Thompson presented Dan Sneap with a run on goal, but he elected to pass to Chris Laidlaw when he was perhaps better placed to shoot himself and Laidlaw found himself crowded out by the back pedalling defence.
Minutes later Sneap almost turned provider once more, but his cross-shot across the area just evaded the on-rushing Thompson.
Both goalkeepers were called into action, firstly Laidlaw’s shot from distance had Wallington custodian Matty Lees scrambling, while his opposite number Rob Rodgerson had to race from his line to clear as Nellis looked to play in Paxton through the middle.
The first half had been even, but the second half belonged to Percy Main, who took the game by the scruff of the neck.
Lees punched clear from Purcell’s cross and Laidlaw’s low shot from outside the area was comfortably held by the goalkeeper.
But the goal was not long in coming as Sneap made up ground down the right and crossed into the area. Laidlaw’s shot was blocked but Thompson was first to the ball and pounced to fire home through a crowd of players in the six-yard area.
It won’t go down as one of the goals of the season, but it could ultimately turn out to be one of the most important as Percy Main’s league campaign enters a critical stage.
It was just the tonic that Percy Main needed and visibly galvanised the side.
James Leggett’s header from McKee’s corner was saved by Lees and Sneap turned and fired just over the angle as the home side looked for a second goal.
The action centred around the visitors’ final third. Sam Thompson fired just past the upright and Carr headed just wide from a flag kick and McKee had the ball in the net, but the linesman had already flagged for an offside decision.
As the game wore on and nerves jangled there was always the danger of a Wallington break, and Alex Slack’s late free kick which flew across the face of goal just failed to reach Nellis, to the relief of the home contingent.
But there was to be no further addition to the scoring and it was a happy Percy Main side which took the points.