Pontefract Collieries were pleased to get back on the pitch again at the weekend after a couple of postponements and picked up where they left off in the Premier Division of the Toolstation NCE League – with a victory.
A 3-1 success at home to Thackley saw them do the double over their visitors and with wins in all of their last three league games they are still very much in the hunt for the title.
They remain 19 points behind clear leaders AFC Mansfield, but with eight games in hand know that their fate is still in their own hands.
Thackley did much better on their visit to the Harratts Nissan Stadium than they had done against Ponte in their home game earlier in the season when they had been wiped out 8-0 in October.
But Colls once again made a good start as they were ahead in the 12th minute from their first serious attack as Vaughan Redford managed to get the final touch to a ball knocked through the visitors’ defence.
Thackley had a shout for a penalty waved away when home keeper Ryan Musselwhite and Luke Robinson tangled in the area. But they were back defending in the 26th minute and conceding again.
Goalkeeper Luke Wilson came out of his area to attempt to clear a ball that had been knocked over the defence. His header only went to Kieran Scargill, however, and he lifted it back over the stranded keeper into the net to make it 2-0.
Colls rode their luck to stay two up as a Jordan Hines header hit the post and Musselwhite had to save from Hines after he got on the end of a James Ngoe cross.
But the hosts also had more chances towards the end of the first half with returning striker Aaron Moxam forcing a fine save from Wilson on his second time around debut and only desperate blocks to deny Ponte from the resulting corner.
Thackley pulled a goal back seven minutes into the second half when Robinson was brought down in the area and Mike Garrod put away the resulting penalty.
They could have been level shortly after as Robinson got clear down the right and found Hines, but Musselwhite made a crucial save.
Colls got back on top and Wilson had to get down well to turn Moxam’s low shot round the post.
They clinched victory 14 minutes from time when Kane Reece latched onto a good ball forward to score his side’s third goal.
Thackley kept going, but were unable to break down the home defence and Ponte saw the remainder out to pick up their important three points.
Pontefract will now be aiming to close the gap on the leaders with NCE Premier games this week against the bottom two teams.
On Saturday they travel to play second from bottom Parkgate who they beat 5-0 at home back in September (kick-off 3pm).
Next Tuesday Colls are then back at home when they host basement dwellars Clipstone who have only picked up one point from their first 28 league games this season. Kick-off at the Harratts Nissan Stadium is 7.45pm.
Collieries were also in action on Tuesday night when they kept hopes of a league and cup double alive with a 4-3 win over Pickering Town in a third round NCE League Cup tie.
Colls made it third time lucky after suffering two narrow defeats to Pickering in the Toolstation NCE Premier League as they won 4-3.
Pickering were the first team to beat Ponte this season with a 1-0 success at the Harratts Nissan Stadium and they also defeated them 3-2 last month so a tough game was anticipated and it was Town who took the lead through Billy Logan.
But hosts Colls hit back in style to open up a 4-1 lead by the hour mark with Mickey Dunn netting twice and Kyle Willis also on target before Aaron Moxam bagged his first goal since returning to the club when putting away a penalty.
The visitors did not give up, however, as Lewis Taylor pulled a goal back from the spot.
They went down to 10 men as Niall Tilsley was sent-off for a second bookable offence, but set up a tense finish when Taylor put away their second penalty. Ponte held on, though, and progress to the next round.
Goal scoring hero from a previous promotion campaign Aaron Moxam returned to Ponte Colls last week as they boosted their firepower for the run-in.
Collieries are going all out for a historic NCE League title and face a hectic finish to the season with weekend and midweek games all the way to the end of the campaign so know they need to have as many good players as they can.
Moxam returns from Handsworth Parramore, three years on from helping fire Ponte to promotion out of Division One. He scored 47 goals last season when with Rainworth MW and Handsworth.