Sam Thompson’s late strike ensured that both Percy Main and Gateshead Rutherford would record their first draw of the season and extended Main’s unbeaten run to five matches in what was a fairly scrappy encounter at Beggarswood.
Thompson, who had been the club’s joint top scorer at the end if the 2013-14 season, has found his appearances restricted during recent months due to a recurring injury, but his introduction off the bench 15 minutes from time was enough to give the Villagers a deserved point when it looked as though the home side had done just enough to win the game.
Percy Main welcomed back former Young Player of the Year Ryan McKee after a brief stint at New Fordley, but after a promising return to the side during the early exchanges, in which he had threatened to unlock the home defence, the midfielder’s afternoon turned sour following a perceived clash with Rutherford’s Andrew Davidson with 65 minutes played, which saw both players red carded.
Both goals came in the second half, but there were chances at either end, with the game only minutes old, which ultimately went unrewarded.
Firstly Rutherford’s Riccardo Tannoh slipped his marker down the left, but could only find the side netting, while McKee’s free kick fell to Stewart Wright close in but Richard Heiniger in the home goal was swiftly off his line to make a smart block.
Rutherford’s Tannoh threatened again, but Adam Green made a vital challenge to thwart the home forward as he bore down on goal and Dean McCallum flicked on to Ross Nicholson whose shot shaved the outside of the post.
Rob Rodgerson in the visitors goal proved his mettle as he punched clear from Andrew Farrey’s free kick and tipped behind from Davidson’s header despite hindrance from a low sun.
In between, Heiniger saved Chris Laidlaw’s effort with his legs and the home side’s Alex White made a timely tackle to thwart McKee.
It was from White’s defending that allowed Rutherford to take full advantage as they launched a quick counter down the left to which Nicholson headed home a deep cross to give his side the lead on the hour.
With both sides reduced to ten not long after, the goal scoring opportunities seemed to dry up as both sides found themselves restricted to long range efforts which went either harmlessly astray or were dealt with by e goalkeepers.
But just as it seemed that Percy Main would return with nothing to show for their efforts and with time just about up, Wright’s free kick into the area was half cleared by the goalkeeper and Thompson was handily placed to slot home the loose all.
Percy Main will face Red House Farm at home next week in another Northern Alliance fixture, kick-off 2.30pm.