The first of the season’s big derbies in the Premier Division of the Toolstation NCE League took place at the Harratts Nissan Stadium on Tuesday night with promoted Pontefract Collieries up against early leaders Hemsworth MW.
Ponte were looking to bounce back after suffering a first defeat of the campaign with a narrow 1-0 loss to Pickering Town last Saturday while their visitors were riding the crest of a wave after a fantastic start saw them follow up a 7-2 win at Clipstone with a 3-0 home success against Barton Town.
It was Colls who were celebrating at the end despite being reduced to 10 men for the last 13 minutes after Mickey Dunn was sent-off for the second time in four days.
They were one up by then after Vaughan Redford took advantage of a rare Hemsworth defensive error to net the only goal of the game on 67 minutes.
Ponte were frustrated in the first half as visiting keeper Danny Rusling made a brilliant early save and also kept out a penalty.
Despite both teams’ encouraging start to the season there was a lack of goalmouth action as they cancelled each other out at times and both teams defended well.
Ponte’s first league defeat since their return to the Premier came in a scrappy game at the Harratts Nissan when both they and Pickering were reduced to 10 men following separate second bookable offences.
Both sides had early chances, but nothing clear cut, with plenty of shots going wide of the mark.
Pickering took the lead on 36 minutes when Callum Terrell put the ball into an empty net after home keeper Ryan Musselwhite had lost it when coming to meet a long throw-in.
Both sides were playing a counter attack game, but the final ball was missing to round off some promising play in the second half.
Colls saw their opportunity when Pickering were reduced to 10 men after Eddy Birch was sent-off for a two-footed lunge after he had already been booked.
But they were unable to cash in and it was 10 against 10 when Ponte forward Dunn was given his marching orders with another second bookable offence in the eyes of the referee.
Pickering could have extended their lead late on with several late chances thwarted by Musselwhite and the game ended 1-0 with some lessons to learn for Colls.
They are back at home again this Saturday, up against higher ranked opposition when hosting Skelmersdale United, of the Evo-Stik First Division North, in the preliminary round of the Emirates FA Cup. Kick-off is 3pm.
Pontefract are also at home next Tuesday when back in the league against Albion Sports (7.45pm).