Killingworth take the points with two late goals

Following another valiant performance, Percy Main could consider themselves desperately unlucky to come away from Killingworth’s Westmoor base with nothing on Saturday.

They had led for much of the contest against a side who hoisted themselves up to fourth place thanks to two late goals which sealed their win.

For the neutral, if any such thing exists, this was a highly entertaining game of football which ebbed and flowed throughout the afternoon.

Full of goals and incident, but never dirty, although how six Percy Main players and quite a few of the home side’s number managed to find themselves in the referee’s book with none sent off, is open to conjecture.

Without doubt the first half belonged to Percy Main, who must have wondered how they went in at the interval only a goal to the good.

But it must be said that the visitors appeared to run out of steam as the game reached its conclusion, hence the late and ultimately crucial goals scored by Killingworth.

With only four fixtures of the season remaining, this match was seen as probably the toughest of Main’s run-in, and there were one or two who before the game confidently predicted a home win.

But once Sam Thompson had given The Villagers a highly merited 2-0 advantage not long into the second half, it seemed that as though there may have been a potential upset on the cards.

Once again Percy Main’s management team were handed a blow pre-match with the news that centre back pairing of club captain James Leggett and Rob Carr, who had proved so effective in their side’s 1-0 win over Wallington during their last run out, were both unavailable, but the fit again Ian Graham and Paolo Black slotted in and both had a sterling game at the heart of their side’s defence.

The fixture had been postponed twice during the course of the season due to a waterlogged pitch, and heavy rain showers pre-match had made the surface quite heavy and it cut up in places.

The opening minutes saw Scott Cresswell in the home goal warm his gloves as he made saves from Thompson and Ryan McKee.

There was only ten minutes on the clock when Percy Main took the lead, and what a goal it was.

Stewart Wright tried his luck from distance with a shot which was blocked, Rob Watson first to the loose ball, ran on and sent a deep cross over from the left and the on-rushing McKee smashed an unstoppable volley into the bottom corner of the net to cheer the visiting contingent and give his side a visible boost.

Soon after, Chris Laidlaw for Main fired just over and the hard-working McKee, who was proving instrumental in his side’s midfield, shot just wide.

At the other end, Lee Hamilton’s effort, under pressure from Mitchell Renney, was just wide.

But Percy Main should have gone two up on the half hour as Watson found Thompson down the left and he cleverly beat his man on the byline and squared for Redmond Cockburn who, charging in on goal, headed agonisingly over with the target gaping.

It was a let off for Killingworth, but with half-time fast approaching, route one football almost provided Main with a second as goalkeeper Rob Rodgerson launched a wind assisted clearance from goal which was flicked on by Thompson and Wright drilled just past the post.

After the restart Chris Tate for the home side shot across the face of goal and minutes later brought a save from Rodgerson, before Percy Main doubled their lead on 54 minutes as Laidlaw latched onto an errant back pass from Graeme Heath and squared to Thompson who still left with much to do, slotted past the stricken Cresswell.

Sadly it was to be the last part played by Thompson who hobbled from the field with an injury.

The home side, stung into action, responded and pressed The Villagers defence and forced a string of corners to which Hamilton and Mark Patterson tried their luck.

Perhaps inevitably the deficit was soon halved as substitute Mark Dixon chipped the ball home from just outside the area some ten minutes after Thompson’s strike at the other end.

With nerves jangling, Percy Main, on the back foot, preserved their slender advantage as Rodgerson made a brilliant diving save to thwart player manager Richie Latimer and survived loud penalty appeals from a Renney challenge on Hamilton in the area.

As the clock ticked down, Hamilton headed against the base of the upright, but with five minutes remaining, the same player was deemed to have been upended by Cockburn in the area and former Percy Main striker Michael Bowman stepped up to level matters from the penalty spot.

Worse was to follow for Main and only a minute later Killingworth were celebrating again

for what turned out to be their match winner as Dixon converted at the far post for his second of the afternoon.

This Saturday Percy Main play their final home game of the season and host in form Stocksfield. Kick-off is 2.30pm.