Two emphatic victories in the space of three days have shot Pontefract Collieries up to third place in Division One of the Toolstation NCE League with a chance to go top by the end of this weekend.
Colls followed up a 12-2 hammering of Lincoln Moorlands Railway in midweek with a 6-2 success away to Winterton Rangers last Saturday as they massively improved their goal difference as well as coming up with important wins in their promotion bid.
They are due to host leaders AFC Emley tonight and another victory in that game would take them level on points with the table toppers with another home game to come this Saturday against fellow promotion candidates Shirebrook Town (kick-off 3pm).
In last Saturday’s game, Ponte produced a terrific effort to come from a goal down to win so well and defy having to play with 10 men for much of the contest after Craig Robinson was sent-off.
It was not Robinson’s best day as it was his back pass to keeper Craig Parry that led to the opening goal for Winterton after just three minutes.
Robbie Start intercepted and gleefully hammered the ball into the Ponte net to give the home side a flying start.
Ponte battled back, however, and on 17 minutes Andy Catton, who once had a spell at Winterton, levelled following a nice interchange of passes between Aaron Moxam, Liam Radford and Mark Whitehouse, whose cross found Catton at the far post.
There then followed a moment of madness which saw Ponte down to 10 men. With both sides competing for every ball Robinson and the Winterton number 11 collided. Both players ended up on the floor and while the referee missed the initial elbow from the Winterton player he did see the retaliation from Robinson and despite Ponte protests he produced his red card.
That should have been the end of things for Colls, but a swift reorganisation saw them move to three at the back with Catton and Whitehouse dropping deep to play more as wing-backs than wingers and the changes worked.
Whitehouse, another former Winterton favourite, in particular stepped up and on 27 minutes he put Ponte in the lead with a superbly taken goal.
He then continued to torment the Winterton right-back with his pacy runs down the wing and the visitors extended their lead on the stroke of half-time as Moxam hit a superb curling shot from outside the box which sailed past the Winterton keeper to make it 3-1 at the break.
Winterton looked determined to hit back in the second half and put on an extra forward. They pulled a goal back through a Luke Anderson header from a poorly defended free-kick on 76 minutes and it was game on again.
But Ponte mangers Duncan Bray and Nick Handley moved quickly to put new legs into the fray, bringing Craig Rouse on for Liam Radford. The change brought another goal as a stinging drive from Catton came back off the Winterton keeper and fell straight into the path of Rouse, who hammered the ball home to restore the two-goal advantage.
Winterton put the Ponte defence under the cosh again, but Danby, Lindley and Heeley coped with everything that they threw at them.
On 87 minutes a swift Colls counter attack resulted in Whitehouse going through one-on-one with the Winterton keeper and he made no mistake to score his second and his side’s fifth. Three minutes later another swift move saw Rouse place a looping header over the advancing Winterton keeper to make it 6-2 and it was game over.
Aaron Moxam led the way for Collieries in their midweek mauling of Lincoln Moorlands Railway as he found the net five times in the 12-2 success.
Ponte mastered poor conditions better as they defied wind and rain and a soft playing surface. They took full advantage of a first half with the wind at their backs to rack up an 8-0 half-time lead.
Moxam struck first on 14 minutes then the floodgates opened as he added another two before the break and further goals came from Liam Radford, Catton, Aaron Joseph, Whitehouse and Luke Forgione.
Moxam struck again within four minutes of the restart. With the wind at their back Lincoln did manage two replies, but substitute Rouse, Moxam and Catton piled on further misery for the visitors with more goals.