Three late strikes see Main turn a corner

THE largest crowd of the season at Purvis Park were rewarded with a triple salvo of wonderful finishes by Ryan Laws, Tony Abladey and man of the match debutant Liam Roberston that served to secure three precious points for Percy Main against Blyth Town.

Even more notable were the facts that Percy Main trailed from the seventh minute until the 81st and that this win was the home side’s maiden maximum of the campaign, plundered at the tenth time of asking.

Percy Main team boss Gareth Allen left Purvis Park wreathed in smiles as his charges finally succeeded in translating the manager’s purist football philosophy into results.

Blyth Town, the Main’s footballing first footers, had succumbed 3-0 on their own South Newsham patch at the end of August in the first meeting of the two sides this season, but they drew first blood with their first serious attack.

Kyle Devlin outpaced the Main midfield down the right and drilled in a low cross that was only partially dealt with, allowing the unmarked Paul Joisce to swoop on the loose ball and drill it purposefully home in to the bottom corner.

With the stiff breeze at their backs Blyth were good value for this lead, though they did not seriously threaten to extend it, except when Rob Rodgerson did tremendously well in the 26th minute to race from his goal and block Daniel Beresford’s opportunistic flick on from a wind-assisted punt from the back.

Other than this alarm, there were more than a few hints that the Villagers would successfully claw their way back into the game, once they had the benefit of the wind.

Shaun Wilkinson’s pace down the flank and the skills on the ball of Roberston were causing Blyth some problems, even if keeper Scott Earl remained largely untroubled.

However, moments before the interval, Main had a warning shot when Craig Hopwood breezed through some fairly mediocre challenges before curling an attractive effort the wrong side of Rodgerson’s far post.

As expected, the second period saw the home side camped in the Blyth half, as Roberston and the ever beguiling Kevin Westphal ran the visiting rear guard ragged.

Roberston and Westphal both were inches over with stinging drives.

There was almost a classic sucker punch on the hour when Blyth’s Devlin ghosted in at the back post to collect an aimless high ball forward only to see his effort hit the side-netting.

Time began to run short and home nerves were fraying, especially when an almighty scramble on the Blyth line saw efforts by Westphal, Roberston, Mark Davies and Kyle Houshby all repelled, before the referee blew for an infringement.

However, Main’s luck was to change with ten minutes to go.

Laws, who has been a popular and successful addition to the squad this season, scored his first Main goal when his left wing corner deceived Blyth keeper Earl and drifted in off the far post.

This slice of luck gave the home side the belief they could win it, and with two minutes to go a Rodgerson punt forward was unselfishly squared by Houshby for Abladey to calmly slot home from the around the penalty spot.

The best was still to come though as Roberston won the ball in midfield, advanced purposefully and slammed home a delightful precise finish to seal a morale-boosting and entirely merited win.

Percy Main will hope to build on this on Saturday when Stocksfield are the visitors to Purvis Park for a Pin Point Recruitment Northern Alliance premier division game. Kick off is 2pm and all are welcome.