Ponte Colls lose out to title contenders

Action from Ponterfract Collieries against Eccleshill United.
Action from Ponterfract Collieries against Eccleshill United.

Pontefract Collieries put up a battling display, but could not halt the run of high flying Toolstation NCE Division One side Eccleshill United on Saturday.

The visitors went away with a 2-0 victory to maintain their 100 per cent away record so far in the division and their second place in the table.

Goals by Doug Stevenson and Adam McCabe either side of half-time were enough to see off Colls, who remain down in tenth place.

With key players still missing through work commitments, injury or suspension Ponte’s football was far from the quickfire passing game that they are capable of and they made little headway against the athletic and committed Eccleshill team made up almost entirely of overseas student players.

It was a closely fought first half in which both sides matched each other and it looked as though it would end in stalemate. Of the two keepers Sam Andrew had more to do than his counterpart who was well protected by his defence such that Ponte did not get a shot away.

With little in the way of stoppages it was a mystery to the Ponte faithful where the referee found five minutes of added time and during that period Eccleshill found a way through to score their first goal through Stevenson.

The second half started with the vociferous home fans still questioning the referee’s decision on added time, but they were effectively silenced on 49 minutes when United scored their second with McCabe netting.

Despite three substitutions and mounting Ponte pressure the Eccleshill lads held firm and saw the game out.

Colls suffered the same result when they were in action in the first round of the West Riding County Cup at home to Knaresborough Town on Tuesday.

A Steve Bromley penalty on 31 minutes and a Sam Cook goal on 74 clinched a 2-0 win for Knaresborough.

Colls were in winning form last Wednesday, however, as they crushed Dinnington Town 5-0.

They welcomed back Sam Andrew in goal for the injured Craig Parry and had Tom Agus and Gary Lumley returning from injury to the subs bench. But with Brent Leister suspended and Andy Catton, Rob Oldham and Josh Corbett unavailable managers Duncan Bray and Nick Handley had to reshuffle the pack yet again.

In came new boy Lewis Dickinson on the left and Steve Lyon was pushed out to the right with Craig Robinson and Chris Kamara making up the rest of the midfield. Liam Radford and Kingsley Wetherald were selected up front with a back four of Dean Twibey, Adam Robinson, Michael Staley and Nigel Danby.

Ponte started brightly, but were almost caught out on 10 minutes when Andrew had to pull off a smart save.

Radford made some strong runs into the Dinnington area and after firing just wide a free-kick by Kamara was well gathered by the keeper. On 24 minutes the deadlock was broken when Wetherald produced a clinical finish.

Dinnington were quickest out of the blocks for the second half and Andrew had to pull off a good save from a free-kick. But gradually Dickinson and Kamara started to dominate in midfield and play a series of good balls for the Ponte forwards to run onto.

Radford, Wetherald and Kamara all had shots that fizzed around the Dinnington goal before a corner found Nigel Danby. His goal bound shot was blocked but the ball fell kindly for Lumley to volley into the net for Ponte’s second on 61 minutes.

From then on the play was all with the hosts as the Dinnington heads went down. Just four minutes later Radford picked the ball up in midfield and charged past two defenders before lashing an unstoppable drive into the top corner.

Colls continued to contain the opposition in their own half and on 85 minutes a corner by new boy Dickinson was planted perfectly for the unmarked Danby who powered his header into the net.

Just three minutes later Danby came charging upfield, supporting his midfield to get on the end of an inch perfect cross by Kamara and hammered the ball into the net for his second and Ponte’s fifth.