THE Tyneside Amateur League’s top two sides locked horns on Saturday, as the title race reached the business end of the season.

Leaders Ponteland United Reserves headed for Haltwhistle Jubilee’s Burn Field, looking to build on their six point cushion.

But the Jubes, buoyed by their semi-final win over Morpeth Town Seniors in the Tyneside Amateur Shield the previous week, were in no mood to drop points on home turf.

They knew that a win would reduce the gap at the top of the table to just three points, and with no fewer than four games in hand over their title rivals.

Haltwhistle striker Greg Irwin finished well to give the Blue and Whites a slender lead at half time. Goalkeeper Liam Blair was credited with an unlikely assist.

Ponteland came out strongly after the interval, and threw everything they had at Haltwhistle in pursuit of an equaliser.

But the home side held firm, courtesy of some outstanding, and at times last ditch defending, and goalkeeping from Blair.

The keeper, who also saved a penalty, was Haltwhistle’s man of the match. Haltwhistle manager Cameron Bell said it was Blair’s best performance for the side.

The Jubes will continue their league campaign away to fifth-placed Gosforth Bohemian Reserves on Saturday.

Ponteland, meanwhile, will host Swalwell Juniors in the John Hampson Memorial Trophy.

Morpeth FC are currently third in the league, and are level on points with Haltwhistle. However, they have played two games more.

l There was no game for Prudhoe YC Seniors last weekend.

They will return to action in Northern Alliance Division One at home to Wallsend Boys Club, on Saturday.

In their previous outing, Prudhoe drew 2-2 at home to Forest Hall in a league encounter, with Sam Moore and Kieran Russel on target.