Percy Main beat local rival Cullercoats 3-2 after extra time in the 11th annual Gary Hull Memorial Trophy on Saturday.
The match, played out a week before the start of the season in memory of the Villagers’ former club treasurer, was once again a keenly contested affair which kept the large crowd inside Purvis Park on its toes throughout as the game swung one way and then the other.
The fixture was once again a great success and the players and staff of both sides took credit for their conduct and respect shown both on and off the pitch.
The game itself has been noted for goals and exciting football in the past, and the latest affair was no different as the contest went into extra time, with the result still undecided until the final whistle was blown.
Both sides are in a period of transition as Percy Main team boss Shaun Galbraith paraded a host of summer signings, while the Cullercoats managerial pair of Les Clay and Alan Moore have stepped up from the club’s Tyneside Amateur League side, along with several of the club’s young players who have made the step up from junior football.
Ultimately, and following an energy sapping 30 minutes of extra time, the game went the way of Percy Main, whose stand in skipper Tony Browell was presented with the trophy pitchside by the Hull family.
But the home faithful were made to wait until the 117th minute before teenager Darren Walsh netted what was to be the deciding goal.
Cullercoats for their part were happy with their performance and will surely turn out to be a force to be reckoned with during their forthcoming Northern Alliance first division season, while Galbraith, who had 21 players at his disposal, will have a few welcome selection headaches as his Villagers side head to Wallington for the opening game of the league season this Saturday.
The deadlock was broken three minutes after the interval when Laidlaw, a former Cullercoats junior slipped the ball through to Bell who ran on and slotted beneath the dive of the advancing goalkeeper.
As the warm weather started to take its toll, both sides introduced a raft of substitutes to the fray, and it was the visitors who hit back and equalised as Kev Watler engineered space on the edge of the area and fired past the dive of Rob Rodgerson in the home goal.
Minutes later Cullercoats almost took the lead as the industrious Andy McVay rattled the crossbar with a strike from distance.
With extra time under way, Cullercoats did take the lead, and what a goal it was as Steve Hart’s superb turn and volley from a left wing cross gave Rodgerson no chance.
But the pendulum swung once more and with 109 minutes on the clock and parity was restored once more as Ryan Laws’ deep corner was met by Walsh at the far post and he managed to drive the ball home through a crowd of players.
As the game entered its closing stages it looked as though penalty kicks may be needed to settle the contest, but with three minutes remaining, Joe Betts’ clever through ball released Walsh who ran through and first struck the upright but converted the rebound from close range.
Percy Main survived a few close calls during the closing stages as Cullercoats piled on the pressure, but the back line held form and the cup was adorned with claret and blue ribbons for the fourth time.
Following Saturday’s league opener at Wallington, Percy Main stage their opening home league game when newly promoted Red House Farm visit Purvis Park on Wednesday, August 14, kick-off 6.30pm.