Main in ascendancy as City boss sees red

HAVING already beaten Carlisle City away in the league and at home in the Challenge Cup, Percy Main completed the hat-trick by comprehensively demolishing an away side who had no answer to the superb front play of Michael Bowman and Kevin Westphal.

It must have been a long and sombre trip back across the A69 for Carlisle player boss Steven Bellas, who is also the team’s goalkeeper.

Not only did he concede three goals, two of which were controversial, but he also was sent off after twice arguing beyond acceptable limits with the officials.

Certainly it is a moot point whether the Villagers would have won so comprehensively if the visitors had not allowed themselves to lose all semblance of discipline after the second goal, a penalty by Jason Ritchie after Westphal had been scythed down, had been awarded on 25 minutes.

The Main had gone ahead after a bright opening on 11 minutes when Bowman fastened on to an astute flick by Westphal and drew keeper Bellas before firing home in emphatic fashion.

A good crowd on a glorious afternoon sent cheers of ringing round Purvis Park.

They had already been in uproar after an early Main claim for a penalty after a handball in the box was turned down, and they soon had cause to show acclamation again when Rob Rodgerson produced a superb fingertip save to turn a free kick round the post.

Moments later another free kick, on 17 minutes, was headed on to the top of the bar and over by Carlisle centre half Phil Hetherington.

Main’s own centre back, Tony Browell, was in a similar situation in the other area, but his header just dropped wide of the post after a great Ritchie free kick.

Carlisle came back with first Robbie Mather and then Craig Cherry just firing wide, before a quick break by the Villagers saw the foul on Westphal that allowed Ritchie to double the lead from the spot.

This decision rankled with the visitors, who offered little until half-time and almost conceded a third when only a great block on Westphal stopped him tapping in a Bowman cross.

That said, Cherry became the second Carlisle player to hit the bar when he fired in a free kick on 43 minutes.

In the second half, the warm weather reduced the pace of the game, but Mickey Haley made a stupendous block to stop an unmarked Chris Major from halving the deficit.

Major had another chance when a free kick fell to him in the area, but he miscontrolled and the chance was gone.

The final goal was scored on 73 minutes.

A Main attack seemed to be breaking down when Graeme Smith knocked a high, hopeful punt back in to the box.

The linesman raised his flag, but no Main player went to the ball, other than substitute Ziggy Ewart, who ran from deep and waltzed past a statuesque away defence and tapped in from on the line.

The furious protests that followed saw Bellas red carded for venting his frustration on both referee and assistant.

That was just about it; Main played out the remainder of the game in second gear and Matty Dunn was twice close to opening his account for the club, while Cherry was unlucky not to grab a consolation.

Percy Main travel to Cramlington Town on Saturday for a premier division game. Kick-off 2.30pm.