So far so good for battling Amble

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Ponteland Lokomotiv U10...2 FC Amble U10...2

NMSL U10 GROUP S

AMBLE travelled to Ponteland on the final day of the qualifying groups before the Christmas break and were in festive mood by allowing the hosts to gain a draw.

Amble blasted out of the blocks and took the lead in only the second minute when J Ford burst through the midfield before spreading the ball out wide for D Handyside, who took the ball on and finished sublimely (1-0).

They doubled their lead in the sixth minute when D Armstrong skinned his marker before dinking over an inch-perfect cross for J Ford to power home with his head to go 2-0 up. Amble were well on top at this stage but were pegged back when the ball broke to the Ponteland striker, who lobbed it into the area, with Amble keeper T Hall valiantly getting his fingertips to the ball but just not managing to keep it out (2-1).

Amble were then dealt another blow when some sloppy defending on the heavy pitch allowed Ponteland to nip in and square up the game (2-2).

The visitors nearly went into the break ahead when R Paton fired in a corner which was met by the head of D Armstrong, only to be denied by the post, leaving it all-square at the interval.

Amble then started the second half brightly, with their ears ringing from the half-time talk and were unlucky not to go ahead when D Handyside saw his effort well saved.

Despite the muddy conditions, Amble continued to try to keep the ball down and D Ramshaw was next to be denied by a point-blank save from the home keeper after good work from J Ford.

At this point, Amble were pushing for a winner but got caught out on the break and were lucky that keeper T Hall was on hand to make a good save from a header that looked destined for the goal.

Despite this, Amble continued to press and had the hosts pinned back for the last 10 minutes but saw chance after chance spurned by a mixture of poor finishing and a fantastic display by the Ponteland keeper. Full-time: 2-2.

This was a good display but just lacked the cutting edge that Amble normally display in front of goal and should see them go into the second tier after the Christmas break, with a record of played 15, won 10, drawn two, lost three, which is fantastic considering it is their first season as a new team and involved in a tough group.

Manager Barry Paton said: “We have had a good start to the season but the real challenge will come after Christmas when we are placed in our group which will contain some great teams. We can mix it up with the best on our day and the lads should be proud of what they have achieved so far as they have been terrific.”

Spurrelis man-of-the-match: D Handyside.