FOR the second week running Percy Main Amateurs showed that their new football philosophy, based on a patient passing game is both effective and easy on the eye.
This game against Whitley Bay A, played at the home of four time winners and current holders of the FA Vase, was a credit to the lush Hillheads turf and not one of those watching could have failed to have been impressed by the excellent side being moulded by new Main manager Gareth ‘Beanie’ Allen.
The sense of disappointment engendered by the disappearance of a fully merited win when a desperate punt forward in fourth minute of stoppage time was lobbed classily home by the home side’s Ryan Keltie, should not be allowed to detract from the key truth of this game; Percy Main Amateurs played superb, one-touch football from the first whistle to the last.
Within three minutes the Villagers could have been ahead when Tony Abladey, running on to a Kevin Grahamslaw pass, lobbed just over the advancing Michael Hammond in the Whitley goal, but also just wide of the post.
Immediately from the restart Ziggy Ewart bore down on the Whitley Bay goal but only a desperate tackle as he prepared to shoot denied another clear opportunity.
However, this only delayed the inevitable and on ten minutes Main’s man of the match, the superb Kyle Houshby, scored a tremendous goal of vision, flair and consummate skill.
Collecting the ball 35 yards out in centre midfield, he shaped to pass, before accelerating away from three challenges and finishing with a punishing cross shot that swerved past a helpless Hammond, to give Percy Main the lead.
Soon afterwards, Whitley almost levelled, when the combative Ian Lee, a former Main striker, muscled an opportunity in the box, but the assured Aaron Kah hooked the ball away from near the line.
This was a rare Bay threat, as Ewart was again denied by a seemingly illegal barge in the box as he looked to shoot, though nothing was given.
After 30 minutes, Bay had their second effort in goal when keeper Joe Clayton comfortably held a speculative Michael McMullen effort.
Kevin Westphal twice found himself denied by Hammond after forging opportunities in the box for himself, as the Main looked to double their advantage.
On a third occasion, he fed Abladey whose effort was fortuitously deflected behind for a corner, though the half ended with Clayton saving well at his near post from a Lee cross-come shot.
In the second period, the Main were again on the ascendant, when substitute Scott Pocklington nodded a ball forward to Houshby, whose header crashed down off the bar with Hammond beaten.
It was something of a shock when Whitley Bay equalised against the run of play when Gavin Hattrick profited from a wickedly deflected ball to chest home from the six yard line after 50 minutes.
However, the Main did not let the home side build on this, as within five minutes, the visitors were again ahead.
Pocklington’s run in to the box was illegally halted and Ewart nonchalantly rolled the resulting spot-kick home to give the score line a more realistic hue.
Another ex-Percy Main striker came in to the fray when Dean Porter replaced the struggling Lee on the hour, but he was unable to make an impression on a steadfast Villagers rearguard, superbly marshalled by towering centre halves Tony Browell and Ryan Shave.
Indeed, the Main ought to have gone on and won comfortably as Hammond twice produced excellent saves, firstly palming away a Houshby piledriver that had sprung from the move of the match, involving Pocklington and the tireless Ewart, and then tipping over a close range Shadforth bicycle kick.
Sadly, these saves were what kept Whitley Bay A in the game, allowing them to grab their very late equaliser.
Percy Main Amateurs will be looking to build on their last two excellent home performances on Saturday when Hebburn Reyrolle are the visitors to Purvis Park for a 2.30pm kick-off.