Northern Alliance division one champions Percy Main Amateurs wound up their season with a hard fought and ultimately narrow victory against a New Fordley side who find themselves scrapping it out at the wrong end of the division.
But at times the home side belied their current league position during the course of the contest.
It was a victory which meant Main had won 21 of their 28 league games and will help prepare them for life in the Northern Alliance premier division with confidence after an absence of only one season.
Since clinching the title a fortnight ago, Percy Main have failed to reproduce their earlier season form with a disappointing defeat at Bedlington seven days previous and a midweek draw at home to Gosforth Bohemians.
But the final day win at New Fordley meant that the side had ended the season on a high, which was just rewards for the players who have represented the club with distinction throughout and the sterling efforts of the team management who have made it all possible.
As one of nine games that the Villagers have kept a clean sheet during the campaign, Percy Main had comprehensively beaten New Fordley 6-0 back in October, thanks to a brace from Davey Surrey and strikes from Adam Green, Joe Betts, Dan Sneap and Steve Hart, while the latest meeting at The John Willie Sams Centre saw only Green and Hart of the earlier goal scorers make the starting XI.
Of the goalkeepers on show, Rob Rodgerson for Main was first to see action, saving Zak Tulley’s stinging 25-yard free kick, while New Fordley’s top scorer again tried his luck midway through the half after linking up with Jordan Coleman down the right, but found himself thwarted once more by the visiting custodian who palmed his goal bound drive behind for a corner.
In reply, Stew Wright for Percy Main foraged down the left and his low centre into the danger area was scrambled clear and Jake Stephenson battled well for the ball and fired just off target.
It was a game which produced plenty of endeavour by both sides, but a lack of clear goal scoring opportunities throughout meant that a single goal was likely to settle the contest.
That goal duly arrived on 68 minutes as Dwayne Murray was fouled and from the resultant free kick, substitute Curtis Miller lofted a deep ball into the area and Mickey Haley ghosted in to powerfully head home past the despairing dive of Frazer Nairn in the home goal.
It was a lead to which Main were grateful to hold as only a minute later New Fordley’s Daniel Young found himself in the clear, but Rodgerson preserved his side’s new found advantage as he raced from goal and saved with his legs.
Betts, on as a 77th minute replacement for Wright, almost added another only seconds after taking to the field with a deft chip which just cleared Nairn’s crossbar, while the dying moments saw Tulley miscue for the home side and Stephenson and Miller were unable to capitalise at the other end.
Rodgerson again produced a smart point blank save for the Villagers in stoppage time as Tulley looked to provide the ammunition for Ben Davison, but the move was flagged offside.
Percy Main Amateurs will hold their end of season presentation Evening in Percy Main Cricket Club on Saturday, June 6, and all are welcome. Details on the club’s website nearer the time.