Percy Main could count themselves unlucky to go out of the George Dobbins League Cup at the first hurdle in a thrilling tie at Purvis Park.
They were never behind until Jack Foalle’s extra time winner for Seaton Delaval.
Most of those present would have thought that Joe Betts’ superb 85th minute strike which put Main 2-1 in front during the game’s latter stages would have been enough to win the tie within its 90 minute duration, only for the visitors to agonisingly equalise with literally the last kick of the game.
Following injury, Betts, who was last season’s player of the a year at Percy Main, made his first start of the season and put in a tremendous shift in his side’s forward line, and if anyone deserved a goal it was he, yet along with his team-mates could count himself unfortunate to finish up on the losing side.
However, despite the reverse, there were many plus points for Main and encouraging signs that the team have what it takes to strengthen their resolve to pull away from the wrong end of the table.
It is a fact that luck has not been on the Villagers’ side of late, with the old adage that when you’re down everything seems to go against you certainly ringing true among those of claret and blue persuasion.
Typically the unavailability of club captain James Leggett and the forced withdrawal of talismanic centre half Tony Browell 30 minutes from kick-off due to injury led to a last minute team reshuffle as Rob Watson stepped in and proved a more than able deputy.
Seaton Delaval had won the league game by the same score only a fortnight previous, having been two goals to the good during the first half.
But the latest encounter was an altogether different affair and it saw Percy Main take the lead in a game for the first time this season, and at the eighth time of asking, thanks to a memorable effort from Stewart Wright, which proverbially was worth the admission money on its own.
One of the factors which have led to Main’s downfall during the early part of the campaign has been their seemed inability to defend during the early stages of each game, as sloppy goals have been conceded which have ultimately cost the side vital league points.
This unwanted statistic almost repeated itself on Saturday as nine minutes in Phil Cartwright’s deep ball from the right was fired over by Daniel Nelson to the relief of the home side, and David Brotherick shot just past the post from Alexander Henderson’s right wing corner.
At the other end, Ant Ridley struck the upright and Delaval goalkeeper Kevin Morton cleared from the advancing Ryan Laws.
Rob Rodgerson, Morton’s opposite number, did well to clear from the feet of Nelson, and just before the interval, Percy Main had another let off as Foalle fastened onto a long ball from defence and his low shot was inches past the far post
The game burst into life just after the interval after a succession of corners forced by Seaton Delaval. The Villagers’ Jack Armstrong, a summer signing who impressed in his side’s midfield, flashed a shot just wide.
The deadlock was broken on 57 minutes in the home sides’s favour and in spectacular style as Wright, some 30 yards from goal and with seemingly little options, fired a glorious effort over the head of Morton. The goal visibly lifted Main’s spirits, but the lead was not to last.
Betts attempted to double Percy Main’s lead but fired across the face of Morton’s goal, while in reply Brotherick blazed high over he bar when well placed.
The respite was to prove short lived for theVillagers as the experienced Chris Rue executed a clinical volley which just beat the dive of Rodgerson to restore parity just past the hour mark.
With the game anybody’s to win, play swung from end to end as Betts, Laws and Armstrong went close for the Main, but with five minutes remaining, Wayne McDine’s measured free kick, flicked on by Laws fell to Betts who fired home.
The action continued unabated in the closing minutes as both goalkeepers distinguished themselves. Rodgerson from Cartwright and Morton denied Wright a second.
But with the game deep into injury time, Seaton Delaval substitute Frank Storey volleyed home from the edge of the area to take the game into extra time.
The added 30-minute period saw Laws head over and Rodgerson produced a point blank save from Delaval’s Foalle.
But it was the same forward who was to have the last word as he steered home Rue’s left wing centre to win the game for the visitors.
More cup action next week as Percy Main host AFC Newbiggin in the League Challenge Cup, kick-off at Purvis Park is 2pm.