For the 9th edition of the Jolly Boy's day out, the location was Yorkshire and more specifically the home of some famous cakes - Pontefract. As the names suggest, both teams were formed fundamentally for the recreation of pitmen so it was decided at Chairman level that the victors would pick up The Colliery Cup. Ponte won the NCEL last season and are very much looking forward to playing their trade in the Evo-Stik Division 1 East this term. Their pre-season form had been stellar with a 7-1 mauling of Ramsbottom United raising more than the odd eyebrow in the non-league fraternity. The black n white stripes went into the game off the back of a good 1-1 draw with Witton Albion and another competitive game to wrap up the friendly schedule was anticipated.
The first half started cagily but as it progressed the Lancastrian's started to exert pressure. Tom Bentham had a header tipped over the bar and Danny Lambert's dead ball strike was momentarily spilled by the custodian. Between these efforts Dugdale hit the side netting for the hosts. Just after the half hour mark Gareth Peet got his name on the scoresheet with a trademark free kick. It looped over the wall and was just too hot for the goalie to handle. Minutes before the half time oranges Ponte were reduced to ten men. They were a vociferous set and the referee took umbrage at something their no. 8 said.
Michael Clegg's lads continued to dictate the game after the interval and from a sublime Ben Conway cross Bentham had a header expertly tipped onto the bar. At this stage they looked a knocking bet to pick up the spanking brand new pot but Ponte dug deeply into their energy reserves and on 70 minutes equalised. The ball came in from the right and the ponytailed no. 9 Hey volleyed a superb effort which Greg Hartley didn't have a prayer of saving. Within minutes he had to be at his imperious best to parry a speculative Hey sortie away from the top right hand corner of his goal and to stop the game really turning on it's head. The visitors regrouped and had chances to win it but young gun James Sigsworth shot into the side netting and an off balance Ian Rowlands headed over a pinpoint Deven Golden centre.
Therefore it was down to the lottery of penalties to see which side would be looking after the trophy for the next 12 months at least. Both teams started inauspiciously with the keepers taking it in turns to save the opening four kicks (Adam Farrell and Dave Sherlock missing for ACFC). The hosts then scored and Bentham levelled things. Ponte bagged their fourth penalty before Gareth Peet had his attempt saved. A fine fifth penalty gave them Pontefract Collieries the inaugural Colliery Cup.
An ultra, ultra competitive workout for both teams. The lively surface courtesy of the Indian Summer of 2018 made playing the football on terra firma difficult to say the least. In his heart of hearts Michael Clegg will be disappointed not to have won the game but full credit to Ponte for their spirited comeback especially given their numerical disadvantage. They will certainly ruffle the odd feather in their debut Evo-Stik season.
All roads now lead to Glossop North End next Saturday and the start of the Evo-Stik Division 1 campaign.
Greg Hartley, Dave Sherlock, Gareth Peet, Danny Lambert, Danny Lafferty (c) (Matty Grimshaw 46'), Ian Rowlands, Ben Conway, Josh Peet (Deven Golden 60'), Tom Bentham, Ben Hardcastle (James Sigsworth 66')
Report: Emil Anderson
Photo: David Featherstone