Percy Main hold off Shankhouse fight back to take the three points
Percy Main followed up the previous weekend's win over AFC Newbiggin with a thrilling victory over Shankhouse.
All of the goals came during an eventful second half, in which Main had given themselves a seemingly unassailable 3-0 lead with less than quarter of an hour left, only to ship two late goals to leave themselves hanging on.
It was the first time this season that mid-table Percy Main had recorded back to back wins, and it came on an energy sapping heavy pitch due to the overnight rain which had forced the postponement of ten of the league’s fixtures.
Main are not finding goals hard to come by this season and on Saturday they were mainly indebted to a Chris Laidlaw brace, the first a strike of the highest order and a potential goal of the season, as he took his tally for the campaign to 12, with nine coming in the last six games.
It was a fairly dour opening 45 minutes, and their appeared little indication of how the game would spring into life after the break.
Scoring opportunities had been few and far between at either end as Percy Main had been unable to undulytrouble Bobby Joyce in the visitors goal, while the closest Shankhouse came was when Chris Marshall found himself in the clear as he took advantage of the home defence napping and attempted to square to Lewis Coyle, but the danger was cleared and Jonathan Wilson saw his run and shot palmed behind by Shaun Backhouse in the home goal.
If the first half was relatively devoid of noteworthy moments, then the second period was anything but.
Only two minutes had elapsed when Percy Main’s Adam Green played the ball down the right flank to Laidlaw who cut inside and arrowed a superb shot into the top corner.
With the bit between their teeth, Ryan McKee’s free kick, flicked on by Jordan Miller, fell to Jak Morris but fired over the angle, then Miller headed narrowly off target from McKee’s flag kick and Laidlaw went close.
In reply, Oliver Young was played in by Coyle and was just wide. Then just past the hour mark Main had a let off as Marshall engineered space for himself in the area and fired low past the post with the goal gaping.
The miss was to prove costly for the visitors as Percy Main doubled their lead on 64 minutes with route one football at its best and an assist for the goalkeeper as a long kick out by Backhouse fell to Laidlaw who outpaced the defence before slotting home.
Minutes later Percy Main were three to the good with Laidlaw instrumental once more as he was fouled out wide on the right. There were cries for the referee to play the advantage, but they were soon stifled as McKee’s well executed free kick was met by Stewart Wright’s bullet header which rippled the back of the net and left Joyce powerless.
Any hopes that Percy Main were in for a smooth ride during the closing stages were dashed by two goals within a couple of minutes for Shankhouse as firstly Ben Turnbull volleyed home and then John Ludlow hit his side’s second to set up a tense finale as the home defence found itself under the cosh.
Joyce was adjudged to have handled outside the area, despite protests by the visitors as the assistant, who was perfectly placed did not flag, but the referee was convinced that an infringement had taken place and awarded a free kick on the edge of the area to which McKee fired just too high.
There were nervous last moments at the other end as Turnbull drilled the ball across the face of goal, then Green made a vital challenge at the feet of the same forward and Backhouse saved from Coyle.
But Percy Main held firm to take the three points.
On Saturday Percy Main travel to Prudhoe in the fourth round of the George Dobbins League Cup, kick-off 1.30pm.