Ponte Colls set up huge clash with title rivals Mansfield

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

Pontefract Collieries took another big step closer to the Toolstation NCE League title when they continued their title rush with a victory at Bottesford Town on Monday night.

Craig Parry’s men went into the match knowing that after a good day on Saturday they could close the gap to just two points on leaders AFC Mansfield and they took their chance to do just that with a 4-2 success.

Colls quickly took charge as right back Jack Greenhough set up top scorer Eli Hey to open the scoring after 11 minutes.

They had to wait a while to add to their lead, but Aaron Moxam made it 2-0 four minutes before half-time.

Defender Spencer Clarke weighed in with his second goal in two games seven minutes into the second half and it looked like the crucial points were in the bag,

Bottesford did not think so as they pulled two goals back through Lee Ridley and Nathan Stanton to set nerves jangling.

But any fears of throwing the points away were ended when Moxam struck again with 10 minutes to go.

The result perfectly set up last night’s massive clash with top of the table AFC Mansfield with Ponte knowing that another win would take them to the top of table. They also know now that three wins from their last five matches will earn them a first-ever promotion to the Evo-Stik League.

It was an encouraging day for Colls last Saturday as they did their bit with a 5-0 thrashing of Liversedge while Mansfield dropped two points in a 1-1 draw with Rainworth MW.

In their final home game of the season Ponte showed their determination to stay on track in the title race right from the off as they were two up inside four minutes.

First, Eli Hey’s powerful strike sent the ball rocketing into the net then the prolific scoring defender, Jack Greenhough, beat the Liversedge keeper with a great free-kick from 20 yards out.

The visitors settled and dug in for the rest of the first half with no further goals following before the break, although they had plenty of defending to do.

Liversedge went down to 10 men, however, with a player sent-off for an alleged stamp and with their extra man Ponte went on to completely dominate the second half, eventually getting their just rewards with three more goals.

Defender Spencer Clarke came forward for a corner and his header crossed the line to make it 3-0 on 64 minutes despite the despairing attempts by the visiting keeper to keep the ball out.

Five minutes later striker Aaron Moxam was on target from six yards out following good work by strike partner Hey.

The demolition job was complete on 75 minutes when Hey netted his second after more good build-up play.

Colls could have won by more than five, but were pleased to get their shooting boots back on after a rare failure two days earlier.

Ponte were also in action last Thursday, but were left frustrated as their usually prolific attack had a rare off night and they had to settle for a point from a goalless draw at home to Barton Town.

They bombarded Barton in the second half, but it came to nothing as their opponents stayed resolute at the back.

Remarkably it was a first draw in a league game all season for Collieries, their last one being on March 11, 2017 – 41 games before.

Colls were due to face the next test in their exacting and exciting run-in last night with the crucial clash at top of the table AFC Mansfield.

The tough games are continuing to come thick and fast for them with a trip to fifth-placed Maltby Main this Saturday and a further away game at fourth-placed Handsworth Parramore next Monday.

Two Premier Division matches then remain with Ponte at Staveley MW next Thursday and away to Athersley Recreation in their last league game on Saturday, May 5.