Ponteland United 3
With Andrew Davidson out with a calf strain, United brought in Richard Kent to their starting line-up for the PinPoint Recruitment Combination Cup semi-final tie against Heddon, at Newburn.
Last week, United went behind within a minute, but this week they had the benefit of an early goal.
Kent showed his intentions with a surging run down the left, but his cross was mishandled by the keeper and headed clear by the defence.
The ball fell to Paul Hodgson some 22 yards from goal and he took a couple of touches before firing low into the bottom corner with only three minutes on the clock.
Michael Pooley tried to get his side back into the game, but his powerful shot from distance was wide.
On 15 minutes, Kent had an excellent opportunity to double United’s lead, but he too shot wide.
Ten minutes later, Stevie Rae worked himself into another good position with a little dribble, but his shot didn’t test the keeper.
The early danger was coming from Ponteland, but on the half-hour mark, Heddon’s centre-forward Scott Johnson got free down the left, but he lacked the pace to get away from Peter Scott and didn’t connect at the end of his run, with the ball trickling towards keeper Taylor.
Heddon’s danger came primarily from set pieces.
Davidson tried his luck from distance and Taylor did well to get his body behind the ball and shepherd it away for a corner as it bounced awkwardly in front of him.
Rae was then penalised for a foul on Pearson and from the free kick, Pooley came in at the far post and, although Taylor did well to steer the ball for a corner at his near post, the assistant referee had flagged for offside.
United pressed for another goal before half-time.
Anderson clipped Hodgson’s corner just past the post and then Wright had a great chance when found by Holden, but didn’t quite connect and Kent fired a volley over the bar after a neat build-up between Holden and Rae.
Only three minutes into the second half, United pressed forward with Rae, Wright and Holden all attacking the Heddon penalty area.
Wright was brought down, but the ball was played out to Holden in a good position and the referee played advantage as United looked as though they would score, but the shot was blocked.
The pace of the front three of Holden, Wright and Kent was always a concern for Heddon, but with only a one-goal deficit, they were still in the game.
With the hour mark approaching, Heddon had probably their best spell as a few tackles started to fly in.
Pearson had a shot deflected for a corner and then got involved in a skirmish with Rae. Both were booked, along with former Pont player Max Turner who got himself unnecessarily involved.
On 60 minutes, Heddon broke down the left and as the ball was played back to Andrew Davidson, he was allowed time and space to get his shot past a surprised Taylor with the equaliser.
With 20 minutes to go, Pearson had a rare opportunity, but he fired wide.
With 15 minutes left, keeper Ian Harvey mistimed a clearance from a back pass and sliced the ball to Kent who returned it with his left foot on the volley with precision over Harvey into the roof of the net.
Heddon’s main threat remained from set pieces, but this left them vulnerable on the break. With two minutes to go, Kent sped down the left and played a neat one-two with substitute Cook and was brought down for a penalty.
Holden confidently scored to put his side into their second final of the season.