PONTELAND United travelled to second placed Killingworth in the Northern Alliance Premier Division. And despite a bright start, they slipped to a 2-0 defeat.

With Chris Hibbitt injured, teenager Miles Darwent returned to the starting eleven along with Dean Richmond, while the hosts were without the league’s leading goalscorer Malcolm Morien through injury.

On 10 minutes, Pont made a good break on the counter attack with a three against two situation, but Reece Havelock-Brown slipped at an inappropriate moment and the opportunity was lost. For the hosts Michael Trodd curled in a free kick from the right and former Pont player Alex Nisbet volleyed wide of goal.

On 20 minutes Konner Lamb beat Short near the by-line, but Rawlinson was on hand to clear the low cross for a corner. Lamb then fired over the bar from 25 yards.

Killingworth won another free kick just inside Pont’s half. The unfortunate Daniel Hadfield sliced his clearance and the ball flew past James Anderson into the net.

The own goal was harsh on Hadfield who was playing well in a holding midfield role.

The second half started badly for Ponteland. David Short was caught in possession, and Adam Pendlebury slipped to the ground as he tried to rescue the situation, leaving Killingworth’s Trodd a free run towards goal. Pendlebury managed to get to his feet and blocked the left winger’s powerful drive.

Short picked out Rawlinson who advanced forward before shooting from 30 yards, which was tipped around the post by home keeper Michael Hammond.

Havelock-Brown’s inswinging corner curled goalwards in the wind but the ball dropped over the bar.

Pont started to take the game to the hosts, and when the ball was played out wide to Thomas Bainbridge in space, he took too long on the ball and his attempted cross was blocked and ricocheted off his own shin for a goal kick.

The impressive Rawlinson then hit a free-kick over the bar, before linking up with Havelock-Brown who curled the ball into the net, only to find his effort judged offside.

Ponteland’s Dean Richmond chased a lost cause down the right and robbed the full back, but nobody was in the box to convert his low delivery.

With 20 minutes to go, a strong run by striker Leighton Hopper took him into the penalty area, but Pendelebury came across to clear for a corner.

On 80 minutes, Hopper took advantage of a mistake by Short, and ran goalwards before squaring the ball to the unmarked Trodd who side footed the ball home to make it 2-0.

A free-flowing move involving Havelock-Brown, Darwent and Richmond ended with the latter firing wide.

Then Havelock-Brown had a shot from distance which was saved comfortable by Hammond.

Despite the result, this was an encouraging performance by Pont, with Rawlinson and Hadfield the pick of the bunch. Manager Liam McIvor was pleased with the commitment and determination of his players.