Pontefract Collieries maintain challenge with storming comeback
Pontefract Collieries bounced straight back to winning ways as they produced a rousing comeback to stay on the heels of the leaders in the Evo-Stik League's East Division.
After losing 4-2 to Cleethorpes Town the previous week Colls were 4-2 winners when they hosted Belper Town.The victory looked in doubt when Ponte conceded an early goal and went 2-0 behind on the stroke of half-time.But three goals in six minutes in the second half turned the game on its head and Colls’ attacking play was further rewarded with a late penalty as they held onto their third spot in the table, eight points behind leaders Morpeth Town and five behind Brighouse Town.Ponte’s team included three changes from the one that lost at Cleethorpes as they looked to stretch their unbeaten home run to eight matches. Midfielder Gavin Rothery, who has made an impressive start with the club after joining towards the end of 2018, was suspended after his red card, but forward Chris Jackson was back in the line-up for his first start since rejoining Collieries. The hosts made a slow start and found themselves behind on 11 minutes when a nudge in the back as a cross came in was punished with the award of a penalty and Craig Nelthorpe stepped up to send Ponte keeper Ryan Musselwhite the wrong way from the spot. Belper fashioned another chance only to head wide and Colls struggled to create much before top scorer Eli Hey dragged a shot wide from the edge of the box.The visitors defended well and doubled their advantage right at the end of the opening half as Pitou Crouz turned well to find the back of the net.Ponte came out determined in the second half and after several promising attacks came to nothing they got a lifeline on the hour when Jack Greenhough’s great ball into the box was put away by Jackson.Within a minute they were level, Mikey Dunn going on a great run before beating the keeper with a low strike at the near post.And it was 3-2 five minutes later with Spencer Clarke up from the back to head home from a corner.Belper were not done, however, and Musselwhite had to be alert to keep the home team ahead. Nathan Curtis also went close for the visitors while Jackson was agonisingly wide with an effort for Ponte.Curtis was sent-off late on after being shown a second yellow card for a bad tackle on Clarke and with their extra man the hosts added to their lead as Hey was brought down in the area, but picked himself up to score from the resulting penalty.Pontefract will be aiming to maintain their challenge when on their travels this Saturday, away to third from bottom Spalding United.