Whitehouse on the mark to put Collieries up to second

Pontefract Collieries' Mark Whitehouse.
Pontefract Collieries' Mark Whitehouse.

Pontefract Collieries continued their climb in the Toolstation NCE Division One as a double from Mark Whitehouse gave them a potentially massive victory away to promotion rivals Clipstone on Saturday.

The 2-0 win in a real six-pointer enabled Colls to leapfrog their hosts into second place in the table, a point above Clipstone.

After four straight wins they are now hot on the heels of leaders AFC Emley, five points behind them with two games in hand.

Clipstone started the game brightly as in the first minute Jake Currie got a shot in, but fired wide from 20 yards out.

Colls keeper Sam Andrew, who rejoined the club from Shirebrook Town last week and went straight into the team, was forced into his first save, getting down well to deny Jamie Smith.

Ponte gradually settled into the game, but Currie had another chance for the hosts only to shoot over.

Colls were competitive all over the pitch and broke the deadlock on 40 minutes when Dean Wharam ran onto a ball from his own half and ran to the right side of the area at pace, crossing to the far post where Whitehouse guided his header beyond the dive of Clipstone keeper Rob White.

The second half saw much of the play in midfield with the teams cancelling each other out, although Rob Paling hit a free-kick that required a good save low down from Andrew.

Just after the hour mark Colls doubled their lead as a long ball into the Clipstone area led to confusion and Whitehouse netted.

Clipstone did not give up with Steve Carty’s free-kick going close and Colls defender Nigel Danby doing well to deny Smith.

Matt Austin headed just over, but Ponte saw out the remainder to collect their valuable points.

They have now won all four of their games since their surprise defeat at Yorkshire Amateur and have won eight of their last nine league games.

This Saturday Pontefract face another big game when they host Hemsworth MW in a local derby (kick-off 3pm).

Under manager Wayne Benn Welfare are enjoying a much better season this time and currently stand in fifth place in the Division One table, just four points behind Colls.

They are likely to provide stiff opposition and a big test for Ponte’s defence as they have scored 18 in their last five games with Nick Guest their big threat with 15 goals already this season. However, Colls do possess the division’s best defensive record with just nine goals concded so far in their 13 league matches.