Evo-Stik League: Hey’s superb strike earns away point for Pontefract Collieries

Goal scorer: Eli Hey.
Goal scorer: Eli Hey.

Pontefract Collieries lost ground in the Evo-Stik League’s East Division promotion race, but came back with a point from a battling display at Marske United.

Up against opponents with a strong home record, Colls went ahead through the division’s top scorer, Eli Hey, only for Marske to level by half-time.

No further goals followed after the break despite both sides going for the victory and the 1-1 result left Ponte in fourth place and Marske in tenth, nine points behind Collieries.

A lively start saw Cody Cromack get an early shot in for Colls and Mikey Dunn send an effort over.

Cromack’s free-kick was well saved by keeper Robert Dean before Hey opened the scoring in the 13th minute, hammering in a superb strike from 25 yards out into the bottom corner of the net.

Curtis Round sent a header wide as Marske began to get into the game and Ponte keeper Ryan Musselwhite was forced into his first save to keep out Matty Waters’ volley.

The hosts levelled just after the half-hour when Glen Butterworth’s strike was parried by Musselwhite and Waters was on hand to put away the rebound.

Ponte exerted some pressure as they looked to re-establish control, but it came to nothing and the home team came close to another goal as Butterworth shot wide.

At the other end, Dean saved comfortably from a glancing header and the game was all square at the break.

Colls had the first chance in the second half, but when the ball was flicked on following a free-kick the home keeper got down well to save. Dean was beaten soon after only for Connor Smythe’s shot from just inside the box to hit the outside of the post.

Nick Guest was next to go close with a shot that was superbly tipped over by Dean.

A dangerous Marske break saw Round goes clear only for his shot to be tipped wide by Musselwhite.

Opposing keeper Dean saved again to deny Vaughan Redford while Jack Greenhough sent a free-kick over. For Marske, Jack Blackford went on a long run, but his shot was easily saved and round was off target with another effort.

The hosts came close to a late winner when Blackford saw his shot hit the post.

A goalmouth scramble followed a minute later and a Colls defender cleared off the line to ensure his side brought a point back for their efforts.

Assistant manager Craig Rouse felt a draw was fair result.

He said: “Good point. Both sides didn’t deserve to lose.

“Hard fought from our lads and plenty of positives. Onto the next test.”

Man of the match, sponsored by the Redford Family, went to left-back Smythe.

The result left Pontefract 11 point behind leaders Morpeth Town, but Brighouse Town, in second, and Sheffield, in third both lost. However, with Ossett United and Tadcaster Albion both winning Colls lost ground to the teams immediately below them. This Saturday Colls are away to fourth from bottom Wisbech Town.