McDonald hat-trick as Cramlington Town beat Ponteland United

Northern Football Alliance round-up.
Northern Football Alliance round-up.

After Ponteland United’s unpredictable start to the season it was difficult to know what to expect from their midweek fixture against a strong Cramlington Town side which had won two of its first three league games.

With Rae unavailable and Spencer still injured, team boss McIvor brought in new signing Chris Garwood.

Cramlington started the better, forcing a corner after only three minutes, but on 12 minutes United created a good opportunity. Cook got to the byline and crossed to Graham whose low shot was well saved by keeper David Hansen.

Other than this, Pont had few opportunities in the opening half hour, and although Town spent more time in the home half they too did not create too much other than corners.

As the half progressed Pont came more into the game and forced a couple of corners themselves in quick succession.

From the second one Zac Bewley played in Cook, running through on goal, but Hansen was alert and came out to stop the United striker who was making his first start of the season after injury.

Havelock-Brown then found Cook down the left but he pulled his shot wide of the near post with only the keeper to beat.

The teams went in level at half-time with little goalmouth action, which was a change to Pont’s first three games in which they had scored 13 and conceded 12.

Fifeteen minutes into the second half the visitors got the all important first goal when centre forward Dan McDonald picked up a through ball just outside the area in a central position. He dummied one way before turning the other to shoot quickly into the bottom corner.

Five minutes later he scored his second.

Pont had the ball in the net shortly afterwards when a free kick was headed across to Graham and although he finished well he was ruled offside.

Graham was in the action again two minutes later when Havelock-Brown made a good break from midfield to release Cook down the right. His early cross found Graham rushing in at the back post but he skied his shot way over the bar.

Ethan Bewley then created an opportunity himself only to see his well struck shot saved low down by Hansen.

The chances just would not go in and to rub salt in their wounds with 20 minutes remaining, Garwood was adjudged to have fouled McDonald in the box and despite the protestations the referee was unmoved. McDonald made no mistake striking the ball down the centre for his hat-trick.

United kept going forward and substitute Armstrong almost scored when receiving Holden’s excellent cross, but again Hansen was out to block.

United did get a consolation goal with ten minutes remaining through Havelock-Brown, finishing a neat ball from Ethan Bewley.

But by this time Town were understandably quite happy to keep it tight and see the game out, leaving Ponteland frustrated for their efforts.

On Saturday Ponteland entertain Hebburn Reyrolle while Cramlington Town are away to Shilbottle CW.