PONTELAND United returned to winning ways with a 2-0 home victory over Alnwick Town in the Northern Alliance Premier Division.

Ponteland made one change to their line-up, with Mason Stephenson drafted in to replace the unavailable Smurthwaite.

And the hosts started well in blustery conditions. Daniel Hadfield and captain Reece Havelock-Brown were dominant in midfield, spraying passes to Stephenson and Dean Richmond on the flanks.

The defence, marshalled by experienced central pairing Adam Pendlebury and David Short were solid, allowing wing backs Miles Darwent and Henry Rawlinson to push forward when appropriate.

Rawlinson and Havelock-Brown combined well with the latter dribbling into the penalty area, but he slipped just before unleashing a shot.

Then a miss-placed cross-field ball from Havelock-Brown fell to Alnwick striker Scott Maddison, but the skipper recovered and raced back to make a superb recovery tackle.

Teenager Louis Calvert picked out Hadfield, who supplied the onrushing Thomas Bainbridge, but his shot sailed high and wide without troubling Callum Brooks in the visitors’ goal.

In the second half, Bainbridge released Stephenson down the right, but a heavy touch allowed the keeper to race out and collect the ball.

Gary Cook then played Havelock-Brown down the left. The captain beat two defenders and reached the bye line before pulling the ball back for Calvert, but the ball was just behind the teenager and the danger was cleared.

As Pont pressed, Alnwick broke quickly with two attackers against Short, but the ball was released at the wrong time and the attacker was flagged offside.

On the hour mark, Stephenson did well down the left and his cross found Cook 12 yards out in front of goal.

The centre forward controlled the ball and volleyed goalwards, but Brooks dived to his left to save.

Darwent overlapped down the right but his cross was cleared. It was picked up by Calvert who shot on the turn but his volley was just wide.

With 25 minutes to go, Havelock-Brown played a neat through ball to Stephenson who managed to get beyond the defence and slip the ball past the advancing keeper, to make it 1-0.

And 10 minutes later, Stephenson saw his shot palmed away by Brooks.

The ball fell into the path of Bainbridge who side footed into the net, but his effort was judged offside.

The decision spurred Alnwick on in the final 10 minutes for an equaliser, and Lee Dundas headed over the crossbar from a corner.

Ponteland secured victory in stoppage time. Calvert made a strong run between two defenders and was brought down in the box. He converted the resulting spot-kick to make it 2-0.

Ponteland United secretary Alan Birkinshaw said: “For the third week in succession the team played well with every player contributing to the performance. Credit goes to Hadfield and Havelock-Brown. Their graft and tenacity kept control of the ball throughout, and Rawlinson playing through the pain barrier for the full 93 minutes.”

Ponteland are away to Shankhouse in the league on Saturday.