Percy Main recover from poor start to beat Cullercoats in derby

Following the mini Christmas break, free scoring Percy Main Amateurs gained another vital win at third placed Cullercoats in the Northern Alliance North Tyneside derby.

They showed great strength of character after being forced to come from behind as their hosts started the stronger and raced into an early 2-0 lead with barely a quarter of the game played.

The scoreline meant that Main have now hit 22 goals from their last five games, all of which have gone the way of the Purvis Park side, who have now opened up a 14-point gap at the top of the first division table.

Having faced each other twice at Links Avenue since Cullercoats rejoined the league in 2006, Percy Main were still to record a win on their hosts’ soil.

Added to that, Main’s narrow 2-1 home win in the corresponding league game over Cullercoats back in August thanks to goals from Dan Sneap and Sam Thompson, pointed to another close fought game.

For their part, Percy Main’s squad included five players who have represented Cullercoats in the recent past, while Richard Nugent and Danny Nelson from the management team had both held similar connections with the home side.

Cullercoats included John Amos in their line-up, a centre forward who was instrumental during Main last successful promotion season during the 2009-10 campaign and netted his side’s second goal.

The game played in front of a sizeable crowd saw Cullercoats race out of the blocks and shock the Villagers with a goal on eight minutes.

Kevin Watler just outside the area played in Dean McCarthy who hit the post, but his follow-up effort found the net despite the desperate attentions of James Leggett on the line.

Encouraged by their start, Cullercoats defender Mitchell Elliot then made a great last ditch challenge to thwart Sam Thompson bearing down on goal, but the home side pressed and doubled their lead as McCarthy turned provider for Amos, who produced a clinical finish to perfectly loft the ball over the head of Rob Rodgerson in the visitors goal from the edge of the area.

Stung into action, Ant Ridley shot over the crossbar for Main before the referee adjudged that Thompson had been held back in the area on 26 minutes following a cunning ball in by Davey Surrey.

Thompson himself stepped up to make no mistake from the resultant penalty and half the deficit to encourage the visiting contingent.

Chances came and went at both ends as Brian Gosling fired into the side netting for the home side, Watler had an effort just past the upright, while Main’s Joe Betts played in by Graham Allen delayed and the danger was cleared.

However, Betts, who put in a superb shift for Percy Main, atoned on 37 minutes as Surrey touched on a free kick 20 yards from goal and Betts produced a delightful finish to evade the assembled wall and give goalkeeper Dean Avery no chance.

Only two minutes later Main went in front for the first time with Surrey instrumental once more as his measured pass from midfield found Chris Laidlaw down the right flank and he outpaced the home defence, chipped Avery on the by line and the on-rushing Thompson was on hand to touch the ball home from close range.

Cullercoats spurned a decent chance at the start of the second half as Johnny Ranson found Gosling whose shot was parried by Rodgerson, but McCarthy following up and blazed over.

Both goalkeepers were called into action as Avery, a recent signing from Wooler, cleared from the feet of Ryan Laws, and Rodgerson proved his worth to deny John Watson and McCarthy.

Percy Main went further in front on 55 minutes as Thompson, with two goals to his name, cleverly made space for Laws to run on and round the home goalkeeper to give the Villagers a bit breathing space.

Percy Main were then guilty of missed chances which would have put the game out of sight, Laidlaw fired into the side netting, Betts stung the palms of Avery while Leggett and Thompson also went close.

Cullercoats, for their part, kept plugging away and rattled the crossbar from Chris Connor’s corner, while Andy McCay’s shot was just the wrong side of the post.

Jorge Bollado brought another save from Avery before Percy Main wrapped up the scoring with a fifth deep into injury time as Steve Hart crossed from the left for Dan Sneap to convert.

Both were among the former Cullercoats contingent and had taken to the field as late substitutes during the closing minutes.

This Saturday, Percy Main will visit Blyth Isabella, kick-off is 2pm.