Virtually a year ago on Saturday, Percy Main beat Gateshead Rutherford 4-0 at Purvis Park in a Northern Alliance premier division match, in which the visitors played a lot better than the scoreline suggested and this week’s game looked to be heading for a repeat as the Main went in at the break 3-0 up, with the game seemingly sewn up.
But Rutherford for their part had other ideas and fought back with a couple of goals in the second half to give the Villagers a scare, but it was the home side who ultimately held out to record their second consecutive home win following on from the previous week’s Challenge Cup victory over Hebburn Reyrolle by the same margin.
In what was a highly entertaining game which flowed from end to end. The wonder was how there were not more than the five goals scored, as both goalkeepers distinguished themselves and Percy Main in particular carved out a string of good chances which were to go unrewarded.
Matty Robinson made his first start for the Villagers and the forward put in a hard working shift in his side’s attack, but found himself thwarted by an excellent display of goalkeeping by Rutherford’s Owen Little, starting as early as the first minute.
Little, however, knew nothing about Robinson’s shot which rattled the upright three minutes later, while Antonie Ridley’s corner evaded all and struck the frame of the goal before Chris Laidlaw and Joe Betts went close.
Percy Main were almost made to pay for their profligacy in front of goal and it was Little’s opposite number Dobie who was next to draw acclaim, pulling off a superb save from Sam Moore, while the same forward fired another warning to the home side as his shot hit the base of the post following a right wing cross by Eddie Keenan.
Inevitably the stalemate was not to last and the Villagers took the lead on 21 minutes as good link up play by Jordan Miller and Robinson, found Betts on the left hand angle of the area and his glorious curling effort gave the diving Little no chance.
Rutherford endeavoured to get back on terms as Moore shrugged off his marker and fired just wide of the far post, but it was the Main who doubled their lead as Laidlaw who had profited down the left, embarked on a mazy run into the area, before cutting in and firing home his side’s second of the afternoon.
Things got even better for Percy Main three minutes later as Redmond Cockburn’s superb ball down the right found Betts who had timed his run just right to round Little before slotting home into an empty net.
Any hopes that the Villagers would quickly increase their lead after the interval were dashed only a minute in and Rutherford threw themselves a lifeline as Will Forsyth’s diagonal ball into the area was emphatically fired home by Danny Hill.
Percy Main at the other end still managed to carve out and miss several chances – Rob Ridley fired into the hands of Little, Laidlaw blazed over the angle and Cockburn cleverly created space before sending a fizzing effort just over the bar.
Robinson, played in by Miller, brought a great save from Little and Betts first to the rebound looked odds on to add to the score but his shot was desperately kicked from the line.
This may have proved costly for the home side as Antonie Ridley was adjudged to have held back Moore in the area and Sean Wilkinson slammed home the resultant spot kick.
Rutherford, sensing that they were in with a chance of a point, enjoyed their best spell of the game as Chris Keenan’s low shot just cleared the post and Will Forsyth saw his goalbound shot well held by he competent Dobie.
Percy Main, though, held on to claim their first home league win of the season and will look to consolidate this on Saturday when Hebburn Reyrolle visit Purvis Park for another league game – kick-off is 2.30pm.