Players return to get Pontefract Collieries up and running

Pontefract Collieries' Liam Radford.
Pontefract Collieries' Liam Radford.

Pontefract Collieries collected four points from their two away games in Division One over the bank holiday, drawing 4-4 at Cleethorpes Town on Saturday and beating Knaresborough Town 3-1 on Monday.

In the first of the games striker Nathan Perks hit a hat-trick, but although they led 3-2 at half-time Colls needed an 87th minute equaliser from Tom Agus to give them a draw.

Cleethorpes has been a happy hunting ground for Ponte, but they faced defensive problems with four regular centre-halves and four midfielders out of action and fell behind in the fourth minute.

But up stepped Perks to bring the scores level on 13 minutes and he then put Colls in front. Cleethorpes equalised only for Perks to complete his hat-trick on 39 minutes to give the visitors a half-time lead.

Within five minutes of the restart the hosts struck twice to lead 4-3. More pressure followed, but keeper Craig Parry, aided by the goal post for one attempt, kept the Owls out.

Agus was pushed up front and the move paid off when he netted three minutes from time from Mark Simpson’s knock back at the far post.

Collieries finally got off the mark for the season on Monday at Knaresborough.

Liam Radford fired them ahead on 13 minutes before the in-form Perks made it two. Craig Heard hit back for the hosts on the stroke of half-time, but Rob Oldham’s 51st minute effort ensured it was Ponte celebrating at the end.

The return of Michael Staley to the defence alongside debutant Nigel Danby gave Collieries more steel while Agus was strong up front.

Ponte came out of the blocks fastest and Agus had the ball in the net within minutes only to see the linesman’s flag raised for offside.

Agus showed why Ponte had been keen to sign him by winning more of the aerial battles than the Knaresborough defence although his early flicks on all fell to players in offside positions. However, on 13 minutes a free-kick just outside the Knaresborough box for a foul on Agus was taken quickly by Radford and he rifled the ball into the far corner of the Knaresborough net while their defence was still getting organised to open the scoring for the Colls.

Both Perks and Oldham were capitalising on the aerial threat posed by Agus and on 22 minutes Oldham picked up a flick on and skipped past his defender and raced to the Knaresborough by-line. His inch perfect cross found Perks charging into the box and he powered his header past the stranded keeper to make it 2-0.

The second goal seemed to wake Knaresborough up and for the remainder of the first half they camped out in the Ponte half winning a series of corners. Defenders Danby and Staley coped with most of them and whenever a way was found past their uncompromising defending the Ponte keeper Craig Parry was at his best to deny Knaresborough a goal.

However, almost bang on the stroke of half time some scrappy defending resulted in the ball falling kindly for Knaresborough’s leading scorer Heard to pull one back for the hosts with a deflected shot.

Unlike the game at Cleethorpes the Ponte lads were straight back into their hosts’ area from the start of the second half. Agus continued to threaten and used his height and strength to hold the ball up in attack. On 50 minutes he shrugged of his marker and flicked the ball wide to Oldham who again raced past his defender into the Knaresborough area. This time instead of looking for support Oldham went for goal and cracked a rasping drive past the hosts keeper to make it 3-1.

Knaresborough came back at Ponte again and on 53 minutes they had the ball in the net only for the goal to be ruled out as it had gone out of play before being knocked back.

On 65 minutes the tiring Agus came off with his work done and Ponte battened down the hatches to hang on for their first win of the season.

Colls are now back at home this Saturday against Hemsworth MW (3pm) and they entertain Louth Town next Wednesday (7.45pm).