Pontefract Collieries’ winning run was brought to an abrupt halt as they suffered a 3-1 home defeat to neighbours Hemsworth MW in a top of the table derby in the Toolstation NCE Division One.
With four straight victories and eight wins from their previous nine league matches Colls went into Saturday’s game in confident mood, but they were up against opponents also in good form and enjoying a much improved season.
Hemsworth carried an unbeaten away record into the contest and had not lost in their last six outings. They were first to fashion a half-chance with Adam Wilson firing over.
Ponte almost took the lead in bizarre fashion when a clearance from visiting keeper Jack Bentley hit Liam Radford in the face, but the ball agonisingly went just wide.
Radford was then denied by a Bentley save after getting in a fine volley, but it was Hemsworth who took the lead on 22 minutes when their top scorer, Nick Guest, toe poked the ball past home keeper Sam Andrew.
Nash Connolly came close to doubling the lead only to be denied by Andrew. At the other end, Bentley saved well again from Reece Hicks’ header.
The second half started with a bang as within four minutes the visitors made it 2-0 when Jack Steers met Connolly’s free-kick. And just four minutes later Colls scored through Tom Copping, who was allowed a free header at the back post.
Colls pushed for an equaliser, but were stunned on 67 minutes as Connolly’s free-kick evaded everyone and found its way into the net to make it 3-1.
That was how it stayed to the finish with Hemsworth defending well to hold onto their advantage.
The result saw Pontefract drop down to fourth in the table with Hemsworth just one point behind them. This Saturday Colls are away to Knaresborough Town (3pm) and next Wednesday they play the first of five successive home games when they host leaders AFC Emley (7.45pm).
Pontefract crashed out of the West Riding County Cup at the second round stage on Tuesday night when they lost 3-0 away to Thackley, Matt Bilney doing the damage with a hat-trick.