Pontefract Collieries off to winning start in new league

Pontefract Collieries' Eli Hey.
Pontefract Collieries' Eli Hey.

Pontefract Collieries made a dream start to life in the Evo-Stik League when they won their first-ever game at this level 3-0 at home to Lincoln United.

Ponte were ahead from the fifth minute and produced a strong all-round display to continue where they left off last year when Northern Counties East League champions.

Up against a well established side at this level in an East Division game, Colls were straight into their stride with striker Eli Hey finishing at the near post following smart build-up play.

Prolific scoring right-back Jack Greenhough almost doubled the lead with a speculative effort from half-way that had the visiting keeper scrambling.

Mikey Dunn went close from a corner, but Lincoln had their moments and home keeper Ryan Musselwhite came to the rescue with a one-on-one save.

The second half saw the hosts get back on top and only a terrific save by the Lincoln keeper Michael Emery denied Vaughan Redford with the post also helping him out.

Dunn saw his effort blocked after a good run and Hey was denied by Emery before Colls doubled their advantage when Hey scored his second of the game after being set up by Dunn who jinked past three players.

Ponte showed they were not out of place at this level and made it 3-0 nine minutes from time as new left-back Connor Smythe continued his goal scoring exploits from pre-season by finding the net with a brilliant strike that gave Emery nor any keeper no chance. It proved a fitting finish to a memorable afternoon at the G&R Stadium.

Assistant manager Craig Rouse said: “Buzzing for the players. After eight weeks of hard work they got some rewards with a great result.

“Great defensive performance and always a threat going forward.”

Collieries were quickly back in action on Tuesday night at Pickering Town and came back with three more points from a hard fought 1-0 victory.

Both sides had attacking intent, but the first half remained goalless with Dunn and Hey going closest for Colls.

Smythe came within a whisker of opening the scoring early in the second half when his shot hit the crossbar. He went close later with a free-kick before Pickering had their full-back sent off for a heavy challenge.

Despite their extra man Ponte still had to defend with Musselwhite making a fine save from a long range strike. Tom Dugdale went close at the other end as did Dunn and Spencer Clarke. But with time running out Clarke rose highest at the back post to head home an 88th minute winner.

Pontefract are away to Duns