Percy Main and Seaton Delaval went into their game looking for a win which would relieve the pressure at the lower end of the Northern Alliance premier division table.
But Main were probably the happier come the end, when the points were shared in what turned out to be a highly entertaining spectacle for those watching.
Only six weeks ago Seaton Delaval had won the corresponding league game 2-1 at Purvis Park thanks to Stewart Wright’s second half headed winner, and ironically it was Wright who transferred to the Main last month and was the pick of the visitors attacking options, who scored what turned out to be his side’s leveller and the first for his new club.
There were concerns that the heavy rain during the days running up to the game, that had ultimately caused five of the day’s league games to be postponed, may have threatened the contest but any such worries were proven unfounded and the Wheatridge Park pitch was in perfect condition, mainly due to the sterling efforts of the ground staff.
Seaton Delaval were certainly the most creative and had more attempts on the Main goal than the other way round, but some resolute defending and last ditch tackling, particularly by Ant Ridley who undoubtedly turned in his best performance in a claret and blue shirt, ensured that the travelling side would at least take home something to show for their efforts.
In a cautious opening period, both sides were restricted to long range shots which cleared the crossbar, firstly Chris Laidlaw for Percy Main and then Delaval’s Michael Fenwick who was a little closer to the target with his dipping effort.
Fenwick was also first to test Villagers custodian Reece Dobie, who confidently held onto his shot, but the deadlock didn’t last long and was broken on 16 minutes in the home side’s favour as Kevin Westphal’s effort from the right was parried by the goalkeeper and Fenwick slotted home the rebound from just inside the area despite the attentions of James Leggett.
Moments later Dobie tipped another effort from Fenwick onto the crossbar and David Brotherwick headed a Tony Woodhouse corner over as Delaval pressed, but it was Percy Main who were next to register as Curtis Miller played in Wright who just managed to get to the ball in front of the on rushing goalkeeper Fraser Nairn to poke the ball into the net to level matters.
Seaton Delaval were almost caught napping four minutes later as Ross Phillips errant free kick was intercepted by Wright who quickly fed Rob Watson, but his run and shot was just over the angle of the crossbar, while the first period was brought to a close by Fenwick and Westphal both going close for the home side.
The second half saw Nairn as a virtual spectator as most of the chances were centred around the visitors goal, as once again Westphal threatened and Fenwick again went close with a shot across the face of goal which failed to reach its target and a back post header which found the side netting. In reply Dean Ellis miscued for the Main and Ryan McKee fired wide after Wright’s effort was charged down by the home defence.
Ridley and Leggett made what turned out to be vital challenges in the area on Fenwick and Ryan Hutchinson respectively, while Hutchinson later steered the ball wide when well placed.
The action continued unabated until the final whistle as both sides pressed for the elusive winner. Some string running by Wright saw the forward break from defence for Percy Main, but substitute Gareth Armstrong saw his shot blocked, while Woodhouse sent a 25 yard thunderbolt fizzing just over Dobie’s crossbar.
The Main were indebted to Ridley again and Micky Haley who both produced well timed challenges to thwart Fenwick once more, while Seaton Delaval had handball appeals against Leggett turned down as the game drew to a close.
In a change to the publicised fixture, Percy Main will this Saturday travel to Monkchester Road to take on Walker Central. Kick-off is 2pm.