Following back to back league defeats against Ponteland United and Newcastle University during the preceding weeks, Percy Main responded and got back to winning ways with a comprehensive home win over AFC Newbiggin on Saturday.
It was a game in which both sides could take much credit for playing their part in an entertaining spectacle in horrendous weather conditions.
Heavy overnight rain and hail had rendered the pitch a little soggy although perfectly playable, but the inclement weather was not to abate for the duration of the contest.
There were five changes in the starting line-up to the Main side which had lost by the odd goal in a seven-goal thriller at Newcastle University seven days previous.
They included new signings Jak Morris and David Brotherick, who had transferred from New Fordley and Seaton Delaval respectively during the week, and both caught the eye, putting in an accomplished display in their new surroundings.
However, it was a player with more than 100 Main appearances under his belt who almost drew first blood as Chris Laidlaw turned and curled an effort just past the far post.
But the stalemate was not to last and on 25 minutes Laidlaw made his first telling contribution of the afternoon as his run into the area was abruptly halted by Trevor Newman. The referee had no hesitation in awarding a penalty and Ryan McKee confidently despatched the resultant spot kick.
Minutes later McKee found Jordan Miller, another recent signing, whose 20-yard effort was just wide.
But Percy Main doubled their lead on the half hour mark with Miller instrumental once more as he cleverly engineered space on the right side of the area and crossed perfectly for Stewart Wright to head home from close range.
Stoppage time in the first half proved eventful, firstly Main’s Marcus McCreedy was deemed to have fouled Kevin Haliday in the area and Daniel McDonald slotted home the second penalty of the game to reduce the deficit, but there was barely time to draw breath as more or less straight from the kick-off Percy Main’s Ant Ridley, himself fast approaching 100 appearances for the home side, advanced down the Newbiggin left flank and crossed low for Miller who was able to pick his spot before firing past Luc Glasper in the visitors’ goal to restore his side’s two-goal advantage.
Main exerted a spell of pressure on the Newbiggin goal after the restart, forcing a string of corners taken by McKee, with Laidlaw and Miller prominent once more, Newman in particular defended stoutly as he diverted Laidlaw’s effort over the bar, then thwarted the same home forward with a brilliant last ditch challenge having been put through by another incisive ball by Miller.
Newbiggin looked to hit back as Reece Farrell saw his free kick blocked and fired the loose ball wide, while McDonald centred from the right to which Reece Simpson was narrowly off target, and home goalkeeper Shaun Backhouse saved bravely at the feet of McDonald.
Percy Main made it four on 81 minutes as a neat interchange between substitute Sam Thompson and Wright saw the former run on to slot the ball home.
A minute from time a long clearance from Backhouse was flicked on by Wright to Laidlaw who, still with much to do, ran on to round the goalkeeper for his side’s fifth.
Newbiggin gained a second consolation in injury time as Simpson made up ground down the right and his low centre was met by the sliding McDonald, and despite the attentions of a couple of home defenders, he scrambled the ball home.
Percy Main face Shankhouse at home on Saturday, kick-off 2pm.