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Ponte Colls go out of cup but stay on track in league

Eli Hey, back among the goals for Pontefract Collieries.
Eli Hey, back among the goals for Pontefract Collieries.

Pontefract Collieries took a quick break from their title battle with AFC Mansfield when they travelled to play Shirebrook Town in the fourth round of the NCE League Cup on Monday night.

Colls were aiming to reach the quarter-finals of the competition against opponents also locked in their own battle for promotion from Toolstation NCE Division One, but had league matters obviously more on their mind as they suffered a heavy defeat.

A poor first half saw the Ponte defence ripped apart as they conceded five goals in 19 minutes to be 5-0 down at the break.

They saved face a little in the second half and did not concede again while Kane Reece scored a late consolation goal, but Collieries went out of the competition with a 5-1 defeat.

Ponte did keep their title bid going with a 2-0 success against Harrogate Railway Athletic last Saturday.

Skipper Mark Whitehouse set them on the way with a diving header for the opening goal on 33 minutes.

They doubled the lead 12 minutes into the second half when striker Eli Hey, who has been out of action for several weeks, marked his return to the side with a crisp strike for his 30th goal of a productive first season with the Pontefract side.

It took the team’s tally up to an incredible 111 goals in the Premier Division this season, but this time the defence did the business with a clean sheet.

With leaders AFC Mansfield also winning, 2-1 against third-placed Pickering Town, Colls remained eight points behind them with five games in hand and 10 fixtures still to cram in before the end of the season, which has now been extended by a week after the NCE League applied to the FA.

The games are coming thick and fast for Pontefract now after all their postponements and they were are in action again tonight at fifth from bottom Staveley MW.

On Saturday Colls travel to play sixth-placed Penistone Church before three successive home games, beginning with next Tuesday’s meeting with Garforth Town.