Percy Main’s players put the club’s off field problems behind them and returned a deserved win against Northbank Carlisle.
The game was the only one in the Northern Alliance premier division which survived the heavy rainfall of the previous week and said much for the quality of the Purvis Park playing surface, which was in excellent condition and remained so throughout the game.
It will not go down as a vintage Main performance, but it was a morale boosting victory which saw Richard Nugent’s side claim its first league win since Shankhouse were beaten at Purvis Park on November 12, although that statistic could be mainly attributed to a run of cup games and others which had subsequently fallen foul of the weather since then.
The home side’s defence managed to stifle the threat of Northbank front runner, Ricky James, who proved the visitors main threat and so often the Villagers‘ nemesis in recent times.
James had netted twice during the 3-3 draw between the sides at Sheepmount on the first Saturday of the year and was first to threaten as Main custodian Rob Rodgerson was forced to race from his area and kick clear with barely three minutes on the clock.
For Percy Main, Elliott Mitchell headed wide from Ryan McKee’s right wing flag kick, while at the other end, James saw his free kick deflected behind for a corner.
The stalemate was not to last and the home side took the lead on 24 minutes as Sam Thompson laid the ball off to Chris Laidlaw, his shot was blocked by Northbank goalkeeper Stephen Townsley, but left-back Rob Watson following up, slotted the ball home.
Micky Haley, who had re-signed for Main from Blyth Town only days previous, was named as a substitute, but found himself thrust into action early on due to an unfortunate injury to right-back Adam Green, but Haley’s first performance back at Purvis Park proved that he will be a useful acquisition for the end of season run in.
Just past the hour mark, Thompson looked to double the Villagers‘ lead but sent a shot fizzing over the angle, while minutes later, Main had a let off as a quickly taken Northbank free kick released James who found himself in the clear, but once again Rodgerson distinguished himself as he saved well to preserve his side’s lead.
Josh Morley had a shot blocked for the visitors as James looked to turn provider, while Main’s Jak Morris, who had a sterling game in the midfield, did well to play in Thompson who was thwarted by Townsley, and then linked up with McKee, but his shot was well wide of the mark.
After the interval Morris went close once more with a clever flick which just cleared the crossbar, but the second goal duly arrived with the hour mark approaching as Marcus McCreedy played the ball from defence to Stew Wright, Morris touched on to Thompson who fired home from just inside the area.
From then on Percy Main dominated but were unable to convert their superiority into goals.
Wright was unable to connect to Laidlaw’s centre when well placed and Laidlaw looked to add to his 16-goal tally for the season but saw his shot blocked following a good cross from the right by substitute Jack Pearson.
The closing minutes saw McKee supply Thompson who fired a shot low across the face of goal, which was just the wrong side of the far post, Townsley cleared from the feet of Thompson, who had earlier miscued following a measured ball in from the left by Hylton Hub, while Morris volleyed on the turn to which Townsley was equal.
This Saturday Percy Main are at home once more and host table toppers North Shields Athletic at Purvis Park. Kick-off 2.30pm,.