All down to last game for Ponte Colls in promotion bid

Jack Greenhough gets a shot in for Ponefract Collieries at Knaresborough Town. Picture: Craig Dinsdale
Jack Greenhough gets a shot in for Ponefract Collieries at Knaresborough Town. Picture: Craig Dinsdale

Pontefract Collieries moved to within one more victory of promotion from Division One of the Toolstation NCE League after coming from behind to win at Knaresborough Town.

Craig Parry’s men knew they had to win against top seven opponents to stand any chance of achieving their promotion goal, but looked in big danger of missing out when they found themselves a goal down at half-time at Manse Lane.

But it was a case of cometh the hour, cometh the heroes as an amazing transformation after the break saw Pontefract hit back in spectacular style to score five goals in 19 minutes and go on to win 5-1.

Anything but a victory and Colls would have been out of the promotion race with leaders AFC Emley winning against Glasshoughton Welfare.

They still remain three points ahead of Ponte, but Emley have now ended their campaign and the emphatic margin of the win at Knaresborough has given Collieries a better goal difference so a win by any score in their final game of the season will clinch promotion.

Colls are away to third from bottom Worsbrough Bridge Athletic this Saturday (kick-off 3pm) and know three points definitely takes them up and may give them the championship if second-placed Hall Road Rangers, who are a point ahead, fail to win their last match away to seventh-placed Campion.

If Hall Road lose, a draw will be enough to take Ponte up in second place, but they will be going flat out for a victory.

They were glad to have club captain Mark Whitehouse back in the squad for the trip to Knaresborough after his recovery from a broken leg, although he was only used as a late substitute, by which time the points were safe.

It did not look that way initially as Colin Heath’s fine strike gave Knaresborough the lead against the run of play seven minutes before half-time with a shot from the edge of the box.

Whatever manager Parry and assistant Craig Rouse said to the players at half-time, it certainly had the desired effect as Colls looked focused and rose to the occasion, handling the pressure superbly in the second period.

They came out like a team possessed and were level within six minutes as Glynn Cotton found the net.

Five minutes later Ponte were ahead when Luke Jeffs’ cross deceived everyone for the ball to find its way into the net.

There was nothing lucky about the third goal on 67 minutes as Jack Greenough’s header was turned in by Ally Wilson.

Fully aware of the importance of goal difference, Colls went for more and got it with two further goals in the next three minutes.

First, Kane Reece danced his way through to score then Cotton came up with his second with an incredible lob over the home keeper from 35 yards out.

Colls could not quite keep the tempo up for the remainder, but had done more than enough to keep themselves firmly in the promotion race.