Following an encouraging pre-season, Percy Main have made a disastrous start to their Northern Alliance campaign.
Their opening eight games yielded only a single point, on the opening day of the season.
Fawdon-based Red House Farm on the other hand had beaten Main on the three previous occasions that the sides have met and are the only side to date to have taken a point from runaway leaders Blyth Town.
It could be argued that fortune has not been on the side of Percy Main during the season’s opening weeks as the side had on occasions played well and perhaps undeservedly had nothing to show for their efforts, but Saturday’s game proved the opposite as Red House struck the frame of the goal three times when on another day a goal or two may have been registered.
And a 56th minute dismissal of former Main midfielder Kevin Grahamslaw also helped the cause.
However, there was no lack of endeavour by those sporting claret and blue and all told it turned out to be a highly merited first win of the season, which should go on to boost confidence no end in the Main camp.
Another factor in Percy Main’s poor start has been the inability to field a settled side as injury and unavailability had taken its toll.
Those who returned to the side made a telling contribution, Jake Stephenson had an excellent game in the midfield, Joe Betts proved a handful for the home defence throughout, Chris Laidlaw, back from suspension, made the first goal and with a bit more luck may have got on the score sheet himself, while Dan Sneap, last season’s top scorer and on as a 76th minute substitute, took less than a minute to register his side’s third and final goal.
Although they had lost their previous two leading up to the game, Red House were first to threaten as the lively Martin Soulsby took on the defence, twisting and turning into the area, but his goalbound shot was tipped onto the bar by Rob Rodgerson in the Villagers goal and scrambled to safety, while Tom Phillips sent a low fizzing shot just past the post.
The woodwork at either end took a battering midway through the first half as the division’s leading scorer, Alex Benjamin, rattled the crossbar for Red House and Graham Allen did the same for Percy Main following a neat lay off by Stew Wright.
But the deadlock was broken on 25 minutes in Percy Main’s favour following a handball offence down the left flank. Laidlaw’s free kick was scrambled home by Wright.
It was just the boost that Percy Main needed, and encouraged by their lead, Wright brought a save from Nathan Sharpe in the Red House goal, Betts headed narrowly over as Wright supplied the ammunition and Laidlaw fired across the face of goal.
Main doubled their lead just before the hour as Wright who had put in a superb shift at both ends of the field for his side and had surely covered every blade of grass on the pitch, centred from the right and as the home defence failed to clear, Jack Armstrong drove home his first goal for the club. It certainly won’t go down as goal of the season, but what an important strike it turned out to be.
Red House reduced the deficit only four minutes later as substitute David McDermott, afforded space and time, fired home a speculative effort over the head of Rodgerson from all of 25 yards.
The home side had further half chances through Shane Brooks and Lee Dunn but were unable to breach the visitors defence, but it was Percy Main who scored once more to restore their two-goal cushion as Wright and Adam Green combined down the right and Sneap rose to had home.
The closing minutes saw McDermott rattle Rodgerson’s crossbar with a free kick from just outside the area, while Brooks made a telling challenge on Sneap as the forward bore down on goal.
This Saturday Percy Main will face Northbank Carlisle at Purvis Park, kick-off is 2.30pm.