Table topping Ponte Colls suffer first home defeat

Jordan Turner, who hit a hat-trick for Pontefract Collieries against Hall Road Rangers.
Jordan Turner, who hit a hat-trick for Pontefract Collieries against Hall Road Rangers.

After taking a giant stride towards their promotion goal with a massive win at the weekend, Pontefract Collieries came back down to earth with a bump as they surrendered their unbeaten home record to Brigg Town on Tuesday night.

A shock 1-0 defeat to the mid-table side meant the Champagne is still very much on ice despite last Saturday’s 4-0 success against third-placed Hall Road Rangers.

It was Craig Parry’s men’s first defeat in 12 games, their first loss of 2017 and the first game this year in which they have failed to score, but they remain a point clear at the top of Division One of the Toolstation NCE League and nine clear of Hall Road, although they have three games in hand.

Lewis Dennison’s first half strike from 35 yards out earned Brigg their surprise victory with Colls unable to hit back.

Pontefract took a giant stride towards promotion last Saturday when they beat rivals Hall Road Rangers in emphatic style.

Up against opponents in third place with games in hand, the value of the victory was easy to see and Colls did it in style with a 4-0 success in front of a bigger than usual crowd at the Harratts Nissan Stadium.

Jordan Turner was the star performer as he bagged a hat-trick to show again that he is a man for the big games, having previously scored three times against second-placed AFC Emley.

His first goal was crucial as it took Ponte 34 minutes to break the deadlock against opponents who initially were proving resilient.

It was a real beauty as well as he latched onto a long ball down the left, cut in smartly and sent an unstoppable shot into the top corner of the net from the edge of the box.

Up to that point the visitors from Hull had looked the more threatening team as they played with a wind advantage and pushed the hosts back.

But they missed several chances and Colls keeper Ben Saynor also made a superb save to deny Jack Binns and keep the game goalless in the opening half-hour.

Ponte extended their lead five minutes into the second when Turner doubled his tally with a finish from close range after a ball into the box had been headed on.

Hall Road looked to reply, but an effort from a corner went over to the relief of the hosts and another good save by Saynor kept out Tom Bennett’s shot.

Colls effectively wrapped up the points just after the hour when Luke Jeffs’ cross was put away by Chris Jackson.

Turner put the icing on the cake 15 minutes from time as he took advantage of a defensive error to race clean through and finish confidently for his hat-trick.

Colls manager Parry was understandably delighted with the victory from such an important big game.

He said: “It’s a big result and the lads worked extremely hard.

“Apart from weathering the storm in the first 15 minutes when they came out the blocks I think it’s a fully deserved win and it could have been a lot more really.

“We changed things after 15 minutes and Hall Road didn’t react to it and didn’t take advantage of the conditions with the strong wind. In the second half it was just a one team show.

“We went two up top and kind of went with four centre midfielders in the first half and just tried to numb their midfielders out so they couldn’t get the ball and turn us.

“We just took that out of their game and they couldn’t really find plan B. By half-time we had pinched a goal, but if we had gone in at 0-0 we would have been delighted in the conditions.

“The second half we could express ourselves, get our full-backs out and we went back to three up top.

“You see with our strikeforce that if we get chances we normally take them.

“Jordan Turner has come up trumps in all the big games and he took his chances well, he deserves all the plaudits.”

Pontefract now have a break before they play their final home game of the season on Saturday, April 1 when they host eighth-placed Campion (kick-off 3pm).