Percy Main progressed to the semi-final of the George Dobbins League Cup with a penalty shoot-out win over first division promotion hopefuls Grainger Park after the sides had failed to break the deadlock in 120 minutes.
Grainger Park, skippered by former Main supporters’ player of the year Dwayne Murray, play their football a division lower than Main, but had already accounted for Whitley Bay A in the competition.
And their second placed standing in the Northern Alliance’s middle tier indicated that Richard Nugent’s Main side would have a difficult passage in the competition, and that proved to be the case as the visitors were made to dig deep throughout the contest to ultimately see off their opponents.
Main kept only their third clean sheet of the season in all competitions, and the influence of James Mobberley at the back as he returned from a lengthy injury spell, was plain to see, although the whole back four could take credit with Elliott Mitchell in the centre of the visitors rearguard outstanding, while Danny Nimmins in goal and making his first start of the season, also deserved the plaudits for his contribution in keeping the home side at bay during open play, while he also made a critical first penalty save from the hosts Daniel Young.
Nimmins denied Grainger Park with an early save inside the first minute from Anthony Dobie, while his opposite number Kevin Quigley dealt with long range efforts by Stew Wright and Chris Laidlaw competently.
Mitchell headed Ryan McKee’s corner over the bar for Main, while Ant Ridley on his 100th appearance for the Villagers scooped narrowly over.
On 33 minutes Quigley made a great double stop to thwart Wright and McKee to maintain the stalemate when it looked as though the visitors would gain the upper hand.
After Nicky Whitelaw saw his effort held by Quigley and Sam Thompson flashed a header wide, Percy Main had a let off in the 38th minute as Grainger’s Chris Robinson put in a measured right wing centre to the back post which the on-rushing Derek Graham miscued with the goal gaping.
At the start of the second half, Percy Main’s Thompson headed just the wrong side of the post and Grainger’s Paul Watson saw his free kick into the area headed clear by the alert Mitchell.
Main top scorer Chris Laidlaw shot over from McKee’s long ball and Whitelaw blazed over before Steve Hurd almost registered for the visitors as he fired a 25-yard effort which had the goalkeeper beaten but smacked against the crossbar.
In reply Robert Jefferson and Graham went close for the home side, but the closest that Grainger Park came in normal time was a shot by Jefferson which hit Nimmins’ right hand post in the dying seconds of normal time.
Extra time saw efforts by Percy Main’s Adam Green and Ridley and a scramble in the Grainger area, in which efforts by Jack Pearson and Stew Wright went unrewarded, while Nimmins saved well from Daniel Young in the dying seconds.
As penalties were needed to settle the tie, spot kicks by Sam Thompson, Stew Wright, Sean Cowx, Ryan McKee and Ant Ridley, saw Main successfully through.
Percy Main will play at Birtley Town in the semi-final on Saturday, kick-off is 1.30pm.