FOLLOWING last Saturday’s energy sapping extra-time and penalties Combination Cup defeat at Seaton Delaval, Percy Main once again found themselves in cup action, but this time managed to progress to the fourth round of the George Dobbins League Cup at the expense of a plucky Amble United side.
A visit to Heaton Stannington’s Grounsell Park awaits The Main at the next stage on February 12 as just reward for playing their part in what was a pulsating cup tie and a fine advert for Northern Alliance football.
Despite playing a division below The Villagers, Amble, as expected, proved difficult opponents on their home ground, and perhaps on the balance of play and goal attempts may consider themselves unfortunate to have their interest in the competition brought to an end.
The sides were league rivals last season, with honours being shared as Amble won by a convincing 5-0 scoreline at the beginning of the campaign in a game where Percy Main’s player/manager Jason Ritchie sustained a bad injury which necessitated hospital treatment, while the corresponding fixture at Purvis Park resulted in a 3-0 win for The Villagers in what turned out to be a pivotal victory in the club’s promotion season.
Once again the weather had decimated the day’s league fixtures, with frost bound pitches across the region being the order of the day, but happily Amble’s exposed ground allowed the afternoon sunshine to thaw out the pitch sufficiently for the game to take place.
Amble shaded the opening exchanges without unduly threatening Rob Rodgerson in the visitors goal, but it was Percy Main who took the lead in the 13th minute with more or less their first attack of the game as John Amos swept the ball down the left flank for Luc Coiffait to run onto and the midfielder executed a superb finish past the diving goalkeeper to cheer the visiting contingent.
In response Amble’s Ross Young saw his deflected shot well held by Rodgerson and Josh Hay steered narrowly wide of the upright.
Hay then headed into the hands The Main’s custodian and the ever reliable Tony Browell produced a vital challenge in the area to thwart Sean Taylor, who was proving to be the home side’s biggest threat.
Amble continued to have the better of things as the half wore on as Michael Dance and Taylor again went close, and it was no real surprise when parity was restored on 36 minutes as Ross Gair, given space down the right hand side, rolled the ball low across goal to Hay who slotted home from close range.
Things got worse for The Main five minutes later as Gregg Dance’s deep cross was nodded home by Hay to give the home side an interval lead.
Like so many times in the recent past when Percy Main appear to be on the back foot, The Villagers rallied, showing the great team spirit which exists in the squad and scored a belter as Browell raced clear from his own penalty area, running the length of the pitch before exchanging passes with Ashley Smyth and then firing past Andrew Potter to level matters once more.
Chances then came and went at both ends as the game became a great spectacle to watch, Browell was denied a second by Patterson, while Taylor headed over and Hay almost helped himself to a third but was just wide of the mark.
Rodgerson made the save of the game on 77 minutes, going full length to tip behind another Taylor effort and the subsequent flag kick was scrambled to safety, while there were penalty appeals at both ends as Smyth for The Main and Taylor for Amble both had loud shouts which failed to impress the referee.
With minutes remaining and extra-time looking a more than distinct possibility, Percy Main scored the all important third goal as Amos sent over a lofted centre from the right which was headed against the bar by Malcolm Morien and Steven Shadforth who had led the line so well bundled the ball home from close range.
Percy Main are chasing silverware again this Saturday and entertain Ponteland United at Purvis Park in the Northumberland Senior Benevolent Bowl second round, kick-off is 2pm.