Percy Main could consider themselves desperately unlucky to come out of their Northern Alliance premier Division game against Whitley Bay A with nothing to show from their efforts.
The visitors’ Peter Glen-Ravenhill scored goals at both the beginning and the end of the second half to sink the Villagers, who might have thought that Elliott Mitchell’s 82nd minute headed goal would have been enough to give them a share of the spoils.
The sides had figured in a highly entertaining 4-4 draw at Hillheads Park on the last day of August, when Percy Main had been 2-0, 3-1 and 4-2 up with 15 minutes to play, but were forced to ultimately settle for a draw.
Athough Saturday’s game produced five less goals, there were still plenty of talking points from another good game between the sides for the watching faithful to debate.
On a day when the weather had once again caused casualties among the league’s fixtures, the Purvis Park pitch was in immaculate condition, unlike the Northumberland Senior Bowl tie between the sides at the same venue almost a year ago to the day, which had to be abandoned barely half an hour in due to the deteriorating weather conditions, which had quickly rendered the surface unplayable.
Main’s last run out at Ponteland a week ago had seen Richard Nugent’s side go down in disappointing fashion to a 6-0 defeat, but with recent signings David Brotherick and Jak Morris restored to the midfield, the side had a much better balance about it and both impressed as Percy Main looked to end their 2016 league run in on a high note.
It was a determined start to the game, with Morris in particular prominent as he firstly curled a shot just wide from Sam Thompson’s lay off and then fired over following a neat interchange with Nicky Whitelaw.
In between, Whitley’s Chris Brennan was adjudged to have been tripped out wide on the right and just outside the area. Paul Dunn whipped in a low free kick, to which Alan Ewart was just off target.
Not long after, the unlucky Whitelaw, making his first start for Main since signing during the close season, was forced to limp from the action on 22 minutes, to be replaced by Adam Green.
Stew Wright volleyed over from Thompson’s weighted free kick for the home side , before Whitley,’s Dillon Blake was booked for diving in the area.
It looked as though the deadlock would be broken as Main had the ball in the net on 21 minutes, but play was brought back for a handball offence apparently committed seconds previous in the run up, to which a penalty was awarded to Percy Main, but sadly for the Villagers, Thompson fired the spot kick high over the crossbar.
Morris prominent once more, had three further attempts on the Whitley Bay goal as he firstly ran on and fired over, then sent a free kick which cleared the crossbar, before a clever link up with Thompson culminated in a shot which was just too high of the frame of the goal.
Main had a let off as the half drew to a close as the visitors broke and Glen-Ravenhill released Blake in the clear, but Rob Rodgerson in the home goal was equal to his effort and parried the ball away for a corner.
Percy Main’s respite was to last only 45 seconds after the half-time break as Glen-Ravenhill tucked away a right wing cross to give Whitley Bay the lead, it was a goal which galvanised the home side who went on to enjoy the lion’s share of the possession, other than attempts by Chris Brennan who firstly shot over and then brought a save from Rodgerson.
At the other end, Ant Ridley, fast approaching 100 appearances for Percy Main, fired into the hands of the goalkeeper, while the home side’s appeals for a second penalty went unheeded as Chris Laidlaw went down in the area, Elliott Mitchell headed Thompson’s corner into the hands of Dan Lister in the visitors goal and Green’s free kick was headed over his own crossbar by a Whitley defender.
As the clock ticked down, Green sent over another free kick into the danger area and Mitchell headed home Percy Main’s leveller with only minutes left to play.
From then on in, both sides went all out for the winner. Mitchell again saw his low shot from a Morris corner saved by the goalkeeper before Whitley’s Jonathon Hall flashed a header across the face of Main’s goal with only two minutes remaining.
With the 90 minutes up and a draw looking the likely outcome, up popped Glen-Ravenhill once more as he latched onto a loose ball around 25 yards from goal and lofted the ball high over the head of Rodgerson and into the back of the net to stun the home side.
Percy Main face Granger Park away on Saturday in the league cup quarter-final. Kick-off is 1.30pm.