Percy Main came back from a 1-0 half-time deficit to claim a vital win and record a first league double of the season at the expense of Ashington Colliers.
The Main’s 1-0 win at Ashington’s Hirst Welfare Ground back in August signalled the end of a five-match losing streak at the start of the season and was inspired by Jordan Miller, who had transferred from Seaton Delaval a day prior to the game, and who turned out a man of the match performance and scored his side’s vital goal during the second half.
Miller was forced to look on from the sidelines on Saturday while serving the last of a four-game suspension, while another of the day’s talking points were how those who had transferred out of Purvis Park during the week would fare.
Chris Glass and Connar Hale had swapped the claret and blue of Percy Main for the black and white stripes of Ashington in time for them to face their former club. Both made the visitors starting 11 and were to make headlines during the game, but for differing reasons.
Despite a disappointing run of results, which saw the Purvis Park faithful look back to September 21 and the 3-2 verdict over Gateshead Rutherford for the team’s last home win, there have been signs that the Main’s young side have the talent and desire to lift their game and propel the team up the league, while the new stewardship of Chris Hunter and Richard Nugent would provide the vital guidance to maximise their side’s potential.
Ashington, however, had other ideas and, following their own poor run of results which had seen the Colliers lose their last three and slip down the table, the visitors were determined to reverse their fortunes at the Villagers’ expense.
They dominated proceedings during the early stages with a fluent display of attacking football.
With most of the early action centred around the Main’s final third, the influential David Brown, who was the pick of the Ashington attack, flashed a header from Michael Dance’s corner just wide, goalkeeper Reece Dobie cleared from his feet, while the same forward was narrowly off target from Michael Hogg’s cross.
Hogg himself was next to try his luck but directed his header from Darren Riddle’s centre just wide.
As the half wore on Percy Main came more into the game and Ashington custodian Craig Towart was called into action on 23 minutes, going full length to save Chris Laidlaw’s low effort.
Minutes later the keeper raced from his area to kick clear from the feet of Gareth Armstrong.
Laidlaw was proving a handful on the flank and found himself on the end of one or two stiff challenges before directing a header from Ant Ridley’s left wing cross into the hands of the goalkeeper.
Seven days prior, Percy Main conceded just before half-time against Walker Central – and history was to repeat itself.
Slack play on the halfway line saw the ball given away, Brown quickly found Glass and the former Villagers player galloped forward into the left side of the area to fire past Dobie and give the visitors a deserved lead.
If Ashington had edged the first 45 minutes, then Percy Main certainly held the upper hand during the second period.
Five minutes in they were level, mainly due to a comedy of errors in the visitors defence.
The visitors had a couple of chances to clear from Rob Watson’s ball into the area, but the end result saw Hale inadvertently slicing the ball over the head of Towart, leaving Armstrong with the simplest of tasks to slot into an empty net.
Five minutes later Percy Main should have taken the lead as Ryan McKee’s free kick reached the unmarked Micky Haley who saw his header easily collected by the goalkeeper.
With the Villagers on the offensive, Redmond Cockburn played a probing ball into the area which was just too far for Laidlaw, but the home side took the lead for the first time in the game just past the hour as good link up play down the right by Jack Taylor and Laidlaw presented a great chance for Armstrong which the forward gratefully accepted to cheer most of those present.
Main’s Matty Robinson then had a stinging goalbound shot from the edge of the area brilliantly tipped over by Towart, but Armstrong missed a great chance for his hat-trick having been put through by Laidlaw’s clever flick and fired off target.
At the other end Riddle headed over as Ashington endeavoured to get back in the game, but once again the Main’s centre half pairing of Haley and James Leggett held firm, while McKee and Cockburn tightened their grip in the midfield.
With four minutes remaining Percy Main wrapped things up after breaking up an Ashington attack, Leggett played a long ball forward to Curtis Miller who ran on and fired a speculative 25-yard effort which beat Towart all ends up.
There was still time for Ashington’s Hale to be sent for an early bath following a foul on Watson which earned him a red card during the closing stages.
On Saturday Percy Main travel to Farnacres to take on Gateshead Rutherford, kick-off is 2pm.