After a gruelling pre-season Pontefract Collieries have kicked off their campaign in the BetVictor Northern Premier with a win and a draw in their opening two fixtures.
Ponte began life in the new North West Division with a hard fought 1-1 draw against a strong Runcorn Linnets side last Saturday and followed up with their first home game against Tadcaster Albion on Tuesday night when Scott Brown’s header earned a 1-0 success.
Colls began brightly against fellow West Yorkshire outfit Albion with Gavin Rothery’s header bringing the first save of the game out of the Tadcaster keeper. Joe Lumsden went close with a shot and dragged another effort wide either side of some good defending by Jameel Ible as he blocked Jacob Day’s effort.
The hosts went in front on 23 minutes with a bullet header by Brown that went in off the underside of the bar.
It proved the only goal of the game although Lumsden and Day went close for each of the sides before the break.
In the second half Day sent a header wide to miss a good chance for the visitors. Another effort had to be cleared off the line while the hard working Lumsden put in Ponte’s best effort and they held on to their slender lead for a first win.
Colls took the field for their first game at Runcorn last Saturday in their new blue and white Kappa kit, supplied by TGR Teamwear, and sponsored by MG Access and APS Copiers.
In a 90mph start chances were few and far between and it was no surprise that the first half ended goalless.
Closest to a goal was Lumsden for Colls when his header from a corner was cleared off the line.
The second half saw the game spring immediately to life as Ponte took the lead barely a minute in. Summer signing Lumsden received the ball on the edge of the area, nutmegged his marker to make space then sent the goalkeeper the wrong way with a calm finish.
More openings followed as the home keeper had to be alert to thwart Mickey Dunn as he looked to race onto a through ball and Runcorn appeared to be fortunate to escape conceding a penalty when Lumsden went down in the area after being tackled from behind.
Despite more pressure from Ponte it was Linnets who scored next as one of their two substitutes made a quick impact with a break that led to Jamie Rainford beating keeper Seb Malkowski with a scuffed shot.
With both sides pushing for a late winner it was Colls again who felt aggrieved late on when danger man Lumsden got on the ball in the box and appeared to be kicked as he played it. Once again the huge penalty shouts fell on deaf ears and Runcorn survived.
It stayed 1-1 to the final whistle with Collieries having to settle for a point from a tough opener in the new North West Division.
Their hectic start to the new season continues with two more games in the next week.
On Saturday they turn their attentions to trying to get an FA Cup run going as they host Hebburn Town in a preliminary round tie (kick-off 3pm).
It is back to league action on Monday with a long trip to play Workington (3pm).