Despite the absence of no less than ten key players due to injury, suspension and unavailability, Percy Main scored a convincing 4-0 win at Walker Central in the Northern Alliance premier division.
Main for once failed to fill the bench and handed full debuts to Ryan Taylor and Sean Cowx, and fielded right back Adam Green in an unfamiliar centre forward role.
And they went on to play out a superb and thoroughly merited albeit perhaps surprising victory at Monkchester Road against one of the division’s top sides to hearten the sizeable travelling following.
Team manager Richard Nugent had asked his players pre-match that they act and play like a team throughout the warm-up and the game, and as it turned out, his well spoken words were heeded by those sporting claret and blue.
Such was the manner of Main’s win, that it would be easy to single out each and every one for praise, as the whole side excelled throughout the contest, from Rob Rodgerson’s assured handling throughout and the central defensive pairing of James Mobberley and Redmond Cockburn, who also played in an unaccustomed position, that held firm to deny Walker and record their side’s biggest away league win of the season and their first league clean sheet.
In midfield, Rob Ridley, the smallest on the team, but with the biggest heart, Ryan McKee and Jack Armstrong who denied the home side any kind of toe hold in the game, Green who looked like he had played up front all of his life, who made one and scored one, and the endeavours of Chris Laidlaw, who literally covered every blade of grass on the park and so deserved a goal to show for his efforts, not to mention a host of others.
Percy Main stated their intentions from the off as Mobberley turned Laidlaw’s low left wing centre just over with only eight minutes on the clock.
But Main found themselves well and truly in the driving seat by the quarter hour mark thanks to two penalties, which were successfully converted by McKee within the same amount of minutes.
The first was given for pushing from McKee’s right wing corner and the second as Cockburn drove a long ball into the penalty area, to which Anthony Studholme was adjudged to have handled.
There was a lengthy stoppage as Walker’s Sam Callaghan received treatment following a tackle by Taylor, and he subsequently had to leave the field injured, and once play was resumed, Laidlaw was denied by home goalkeeper Rory Blyth, who was out smartly to kick clear.
At the other end the home side tried to get back into the game as Kurt Burns tried his luck from just outside the angle, which was collected by Rodgerson, and Daniel Robinson was off target with his effort.
The closest Walker came was a 25-yard free kick from John Robson which struck the top of the crossbar and rebounded to safety.
Either side of half-time, Rodgerson went full length to deny John Ludlow and Carl Begbie headed into the hands of the visiting custodian, and not long after he made a point blank stop to deny Robson.
But Percy Main increased their lead on 66 minutes as Laidlaw played a measured ball forward and Green, still left with much to do, ran on and rounded the goalkeeper for his side’s third.
A minute later it looked as though Main would go further ahead as Laidlaw was played in with a run on goal, but the combined attentions of Burns and his defence forced the division’s top scorer wide and the danger was snuffed out.
As it turned out, to the delight of the visitors Walker’s respite was to prove short lived as Ridley and Green combined down the left and this time Green turned provider with a slide rule pass for Ridley who drove the ball home from the edge of the area.
Further action saw McKee denied his hat-trick by the finger tips of Burns, who tipped his free kick from distance over the crossbar, while an injury time flare up involving a number from both sides, saw Ridley booked and Walker’s Marcus Burns sent off following a second yellow card for his his troubles.
On Saturday Percy Main travel to take on Carlisle City, kick-off at Gillford Park is 2.30pm.