At the half way point in their home game with in-form Penistone Church at Beechnut Lane last night, second-placed Pontefract Collieries were firmly on course to close the gap to Toolstation NCEL League Leaders AFC Mansfield to just two points; but by the final whistle, the South Yorkshire side had turned the game on its head, setting off for home with three points after a fine 2-1 win- and although Colls Assistant Manager Craig Rouse didn’t argue with the outcome, delighted Penistone Manager Ian Richards feels that it’s only a temporary setback in Pontefract’s promotion charge, writes Colin Muncie.
A fine 147-strong crowd saw Aaron Moxam give the home side that first half lead (35 minutes); but after the interval, Danny Howes (55mins) and Kieran Ryan (71) gave Church the win.
Craig told the Bootiful Game “The overriding thought after that game is that we got exactly what we deserved -which is nothing. It would be easy for us to say that we hadn’t played well but we have to give credit to Penistone who disrupted our game and won the individual battles over the pitch. They were the better side on the night and they deserved the three points, so full credit to them. Our lads have been superb all season and one game won’t change that”.
“We’ll go away, dust ourselves down and work hard to react on Saturday away at Handsworth”
Ian took time out to pay tribute to the home side.” Firstly, credit to Craig Parry, Craig Rouse and Ponte Colls for the success they have had this season. You can see why they are the team to beat and will gain promotion; they have a clear method and way of playing that is effective, especially at home- and this has created a lot of goals and a lot of wins. We decided to be brave, stick to our system and game plan and take the game to them. It worked as at times we put them under a lot of pressure and pushed them back and got them facing their goal and pulling their centre- back into positions that they didn’t want to go .We won the midfield battle which gave us the platform to play and get on top in good areas of the pitch.”.
Ian admitted that he felt his side deserved better at the interval. “We went in 1-0 down at half time , which I think was slightly harsh as I thought we edged the first half” he said “ but the players then showed great character and belief to overturn that and win 2-1. We lost Jordan Corduri after 35 minutes to a bad ankle injury, but Danny Howes came on scored the equaliser and had a great game. The result showed how far we have progressed this season and we feel we still can get better and keep improving”.
“It is a pleasure to manage this group of players and we look forward to Liversedge on Saturday -and the final run in”.