Seven minute hat trick gives Pont a sinking feeling
Ponteland faced a difficult encounter against championship chasing Heaton Stannington but despite going behind after only five minutes put in a spirited performance for 60 minutes before running out of steam and being struck by Lee Johnson.
Read on for match report
It was top against bottom as Ponteland United, deep in relegation trouble, faced championship contenders Heaton Stannington, at Ponteland Leisure Centre.
Just as they conceded a goal in mid week to a set piece United did so again when Heaton's tall centre back Gary McGarrigal headed the ball unchallenged from a corner kick in the 5th minute. In the first fifteen minutes United were second best but having overcome the shock goal gradually came into the game. Holden had a great opportunity to level the scores when he got beyond the defence but having rounded the keeper was denied by a last ditch tackle. The skilful Johnathan Wright upfront for the visitors picked up a ball on the left and sprayed a brilliant pass into the path of Johnson but his strike partner shot wide. United's Ford then headed a Flynn corner towards goal but it was scrambled clear. However on 25 minutes Pont equalised when Holden steered Flynn's cross wide of Backhouse to give Pont some hope. As the half drew to a close a quick free kick released Rankin playing in a more advanced position and his cross was collected cleanly by Backhouse at the feet of Holden waiting to pounce on any loose ball.
The match had been quite open with Pont well in contention at the interval and would fancy their chances of getting something out of the game. Their key opportunity came early in the second half when Flynn stole on the blindside of Wear to meet a cross from the right some twenty yards from goal but his neat half volley with the outside of his left foot to lob stranded keeper Backhouse unfortunately drifted wide of the goal. Heaton were then awarded a free kick for an infringement by Jones and from the resultant free kick were given a penalty when the ball struck an outstretched arm. Wright stepped up to take the spot kick but Blair saved diving to his right. Pont may have thought it could well be there day as they were still in the game with twenty five minutes to go but Lee Johnson had other ideas. On 65 minutes he ran onto a through ball with the Pont defence playing and appealing for offside but he went on to fire past Blair. Five minutes later he scored his second tapping in a cross following a break down the right and was on the spot to complete a seven minute hat trick when Blair tried to catch Wright's strong shot and the ball dropped into the path of Johnson. This inevitably knocked the stuffing out of the Pont lads who for 60 minutes had put up a spirited performance. Heaton completed the rout and went nap when substitute Ben Telford got on the scoresheet in the final minute.
With Gateshead Rutherford beating Stocksfield it means Ponteland can only hope that Walker Central who have one game in hand and one point ahead of Pont slip up in their three match run in which on paper looks easier than Ponts who have to visit Harraby Catholic Club.
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