MATCH REPORT: Defences dominate as Wooler just miss out in cup rematch

Luke Strangeways fires home Wooler's only goal against Ponteland. Picture by Steve Miller
Luke Strangeways fires home Wooler's only goal against Ponteland. Picture by Steve Miller
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Wooler 1 Ponteland United 2 (after extra-time)

NORTHERN FOOTBALL ALLIANCE, BAY PLASTICS CHALLENGE CUP

Wooler were unfortunate to lose this Bay Plastics Combination Cup tie against Ponteland United.

In the first league match of the season, Wooler were well beaten by the visitors but it was a different story in the cup. Both teams had made several changes to their starting line-ups and the home team were a combination of youth and experience.

Wooler had the best of the opening exchanges, with both Mark Forrest and Luke Strangeways creating early opportunities to score.

It was somewhat against the run of play that the visitors opened the scoring when, after 15 minutes, John Ray scored after the Wooler defence failed to clear their lines.

This spurred Wooler on and, five minutes later, Strangeways was put through on the left and scored with a low drive from 20 yards.

For the remainder of the match, it was finely balanced, with neither side dominating possession and both teams resorting to long-ball tactics, with which both defences were comfortable.

The Wooler midfield duo of Ross Tait and Gareth Pearson worked tirelessly all afternoon, and the defence was looking very solid, with both Frazer Tait and Michael Saunders easily dealing with the threat the visiting forwards posed.

Extra-time began with neither team willing to press on and try to score and it looked like a set-piece was going to be the only way the deadlock could be broken.

With five minutes left in the second period of extra-time and the game looking like penalties were inevitable, Wooler were attacking and, when play broke down, Ponteland pressed forward and Ray was on hand again to score with a good right-foot drive.

Although both sides created some scoring opportunities, this was for the main part, a match dominated by the defences and best for Wooler on the day were Ross Tait and Frazer Tait.

Full Northern Alliance League report on the Gazette website