Controversial decision denies Ponte Colls top spot

Liam Radford, denied a goal by a controversial decision.
Liam Radford, denied a goal by a controversial decision.

Pontefract Collieries missed a chance to go top of Division One of the Toolstation NCE League when they were frustrated in a goalless draw away to Rossington Main on Tuesday night.

They battered their hosts for most of the game, but were denied by a combination of a nine-man defence, good goalkeeping and bad luck with a controversial decision ultimately costing them victory.

After Ponte had made the running from the start they thought they had broken the deadlock on the stroke of half-time when a goalmouth scramble saw the ball fall at the feet of Liam Radford who hammered it full force towards the goal.

The Rossington keeper managed to get a leg in the way of the ball, but the force of the shot clearly hurt him. As Rossington cleared their lines and counter attacked he was clearly limping yet made no signal to his dug-out, officials or players to indicate the severity of his injury and so his team-mates and the officials ignored him with play continuing.

Nigel Danby snuffed out the home attack and pushed the ball forward, allowing Radford to run clear. As soon as the Ponte players won the ball back, though, the Rossington keeper went to ground with his injury. Radford played on, as the home team had done, and put the ball into the net.

At first the referee gave a goal and walked back to the centre circle, but after howls of protest from Rossington and after much discussion and histrionics from both sides he reversed his initial decision and instead gave a drop ball on the half-way line.

The second half continued much as the first with Colls well on top, but unable to find a way through to get the vital goal and they had to settle for a point that takes them level on points with leaders AFC Emley.

Ponte went second on Saturday when they put four past struggling Teversal.

They were always favourites to beat a Teversal side sitting in the lower reaches of the division, having had nine defeats in their previous 10 games, but were faced with a heavy pitch that cut up badly in the pre-match warm-up and the conditions had potential to be a game leveller.

Colls fielded the same side that had beaten Hall Road Rangers in midweek, Chris Kamara retaining the right-back berth with Tom Copping in the centre of defence.

But it was Teversal that started the quickest and pushed forward from the kick-off, trying to catch the hosts cold.

Early efforts came to nothing, though, and it was Ponte who made the breakthrough.

Andy Catton robbed a Tevie player and pushed a quick ball through to put Radford in on the Teversal keeper to open the scoring in the home side’s favour.

Teversal pushed upfield to get back into the game and battled hard for possession, but the Ponte defence coped with everything that they could throw at them.

Luke Forgione and Aaron Joseph now have a solid partnership in the Colls midfield and Teversal struggled to find a way past them to get at the defence, other than by long balls which Tom Copping and Nigel Danby dealt with for most of the time.

With Aaron Moxam leading the line for Ponte the inexperienced Tevie defence seemed to be at sixes and sevens with the probing Ponte forwards for much of the time.

The hosts doubled their lead on 19 minutes when some clever midfield inter-play saw Radford turn provider and put the ball into the path of Catton who lashed an unstoppable shot past the Tevie keeper.

Then on the half-hour Moxam put the game out of Teversal’s reach as he scored a third goal for the Colls to underline their dominance.

Despite a late Tevie attempt which hit the side netting when the player should really have done better, the first half ended with Ponte totally in control of the game.

To their credit, Teversal refused to give up and took the game to their hosts in the second half. Tough tackles flew in from both sides and the referee had no option but to bring out his yellow card on more than one occasion with both sides matching each other on the booking front.

Although Teversal huffed and puffed they really created few chances and Craig Parry had another reasonably quiet afternoon.

Both sides had efforts disallowed for offsides in the latter stages of the match and Parry had to be sharp to deny the occasional attack by Tevie

However, Ponte were content to soak up the pressure and let Tevie come at them while looking for an opportunity to counter and extend their lead. With Matthew Marsden, Craig Rouse, and Phil Lindley on for Joseph, Moxam and Kamara the Colls had to wait until the 86th minute to extend their lead. Following a Ponte corner and some scrappy defensive work the ball fell at the feet of sub Lindley who lashed home to seal the points.

This Saturday sees Pontefract away to Dronfield Town (3pm) as they look to maintain their promotion bid.