Longhoughton U9...3 Ponteland Milan U9...2
Pin Point Recruitment U9 League, Division N
A LEWIS Fairbairn screamer was just enough to give Longhoughton U9s a precious victory over Ponteland Milan, their Pin Point Junior League counterparts, on Sunday, at Westfield Park.
On a bitterly cold morning, both sides produced a sizzling encounter which did more than enough to warm the watching spectators.
Longhoughton started the brightest and Alex Threlfall was quickly testing the Ponteland keeper with a smart shot that was well saved.
The home side were soon in front as Jack Brooks quickly fed Thorsten Robinson, who played a short ball inside to Joseph Cormack.
Cormack, in possession on the outside of the Ponteland penalty area, went left before shooting into the right-hand side of the goal (1-0).
Yet Ponteland weren’t behind for long, after Threlfall shot wide, Ponteland broke forward.
A perceptive pass by an away side midfielder found their striker in space and he admirably kept his calm as he rounded Niall Murtagh, the Longhoughton goalkeeper, before stroking the ball into the net (1-1).
The second quarter saw Longhoughton trying hard to regain the lead.
Gareth Rickaby shot narrowly wide after a strong run down the Longhoughton right.
Then Sam Dover had an effort saved superbly by the Ponteland goalkeeper, before the ball was returned into the Ponteland area, for Dover to have his second attempt scrambled off the line.
Longhoughton finished the second quarter strongly with Dover and Ricakby combining well yet the score remained 1-1.
The third quarter saw the Ponteland goalkeeper fending off all Longhoughton attempts to take the lead, turning away Cormack, Robinson and Threlfall.
Threlfall was particularly inspiring yet, despite his glorious dribbling across the Longhoughton front-line, the Ponteland defence looked to be able to rebuff his best efforts.
When it seemed the third quarter was going to finish goaless a clever run and pass by Roan Brayson found Threlfall wide on the left.
He finally found a way to beat the impressive Ponteland goalkeeper (2-1).
The final part of the game saw Ponteland trying to regain a foothold in the match.
Twice, excellent passing saw a Ponteland player breaking free from the Longhoughton defence. Twice Murtagh stood up well to save his side from conceding an equaliser.
For so long a spectator, Murtagh showed impressive concentration to save his side in this sudden Ponteland surge of chances.
Ponteland continued to press and an equaliser was again denied by the Longhoughton goalkeeper and then the Longhoughton cross-bar.
The game was becoming stretched and it was quickly Longhoughton’s turn to strike the post as Threlfall was unlucky not to score.
The game hung in the balance and it took a mixture of skill and luck for the pendulum to swing to Longhoughton.
A Ponteland attack was intercepted by Joe Archbold who then powered into the Ponteland half.
Moving wide he beat two men before playing the ball back to Fairbairn in the centre of the field. Instantly, Lewis hit a shot at goal.
A Ponteland defender attempted to block the shot but he was fractionally late to deny Lewis.
However, his challenge gave Lewis’s screamer an increased angle of trajectory and it was sufficient to leave the Ponteland goalkeeper flat-footed as the ball sailed into the net over his head.
Longhoughton’s joy was equally matched with Ponteland’s despair and it was a cruel on a very brave display of goalkeeping (3-1).
Longhoughton’s third goal proved decisive as, despite adding to their tally, Ponteland had no time to look for an equaliser (3-2).
Another tight game saw Longhoughton the victor but both teams were magnificent.