Pontefract Collieries move into top four

Pontefract Collieries' Kyle Hawthorne breaks away from Worsborough Bridge defenders. Picture: GRAHAM LINDLEY
Pontefract Collieries' Kyle Hawthorne breaks away from Worsborough Bridge defenders. Picture: GRAHAM LINDLEY

Pontefract Collieries climbed up to fourth place in Division One of the Toolstation NCE League when they beat Worsbrough Bridge 2-1 in a full blooded encounter at the White Rose Stadium on Saturday.

A feisty encounter saw bookings aplenty and a player stretchered off with conditions not helping as a wet and slippy pitch contributed to what was always going to be a physical encounter between the two sides.

With new boys Gareth Grant and Kyle Hawthorne making their home debuts up front Ponte had enough firepower as well as strength in defence to come back from a goal down to take the three points.

An early goal has become something of a standard at Ponte this season, but this time it went the visitors’ way.

The Briggers won a free-kick on the edge of the box on seven minutes and despite a well placed wall Chris White curled the ball round it and past keeper Craig Parry into the far corner of the net to open the scoring.

White was to prove a thorn in Ponte’s side all afternoon. From then on the Briggers took control of midfield with Pontefract old boy Josh Wright being particularly influential.

With both sides cancelling each other out it looked as though the visitors might take their lead into half-time, but the game turned on a rash challenge on the 35th minute.

As Chris Kamara looked to regain control of the midfield he rode three strong challenges until Wright lunged in on a 50-50 ball which saw the Worsbrough player come off worst. After some delay he was stretchered off to take no further part in the game.

That enforced change to the Briggers game plan helped Ponte and on 40 minutes a quality corner from Andy Catton found the head of defender Michael Staley, who scored for the second home game on the trot to make it 1-1 at the break.

Colls managers Duncan Bray and Nick Handley changed their game plan at half-time by bringing Liam Radford deeper into midfield to help take control and from that point on Ponte began to dominate.

But despite increasing the pressure they were unable to find a way through despite Hawthorne having a stormer of a game on the left wing.

On 75 minutes Ponte made changes with Radford and Kamara coming off to be replaced by Kingsley Wetherald and Brenton Leister.

The changes made the difference and Colls penned the Briggers back in their own half. On 85 minutes they were finally rewarded as an exquisite flick by Grant, after holding the ball in the Worsbrough area, dropped perfectly in the path of the tireless Catton, who lashed the ball into the net for the winner.

The referee found plenty of stoppage time, but Colls held on comfortably enough for a deserved win.

The three points takes them up to fourth, above Worsbrough, and one point behind third-placed Bottesford Town. With the long trip to bottom club Louth Town coming up this Saturday Pontefract are heading into the festive period in a good position and if their form after Christmas is as good as last season they can still play a big part in the promotion race.

Striker Steve Lyon has left Pontefract Collieries to join their Toolstation NCE Division One rivals Selby Town.