THERE was double delight for Prudhoe YC Seniors on Saturday.

Goals from Harry Mitchell, Sam Dibb-Fuller, and Sam Moore, saw the Red and Blacks get the better of local rivals Hexham, in a hard-fought 3-1 victory.

And in doing so, they strengthened their position at the top end of Northern Alliance Division One.

Lee Blackburn’s second placed side are now just three points behind league leaders Hebburn Town U23, with two games in hand.

Prudhoe’s pedigree as promotion contenders was evident on another derby day which demonstrated the healthy state of football in the Tyne Valley.

The fixture, which was reversed to Prudhoe’s Kimberly Park due to an unplayable surface at Hexham’s Wentworth Leisure Centre, was competitive from the off.

Hexham dealt with too early Prudhoe corners before coming close from their own first attempt from the quadrant, with Kurtis Harvey’s near post flick on flashing dangerously across the face of goal.

But Prudhoe were in clinical mood, and on 10 minutes, Harry Mitchell powered home a header from eight yards to warm up a cold afternoon for spectators.

Hexham kept their heads up, and from a Lewis Loughhead free kick, Michael Robson steered a looping header towards goal which was gathered by but Seniors’ keeper Sean Brown.

A poor clearance from the hosts gifted the ball to ex-Prudhoe man Sam Mannion in space on the left. He crossed low for Harvey but the latter’s shot was blocked.

Then on 25 minutes, Mannion broke away down the left again, and laid the ball off for Owen Murtough, who side footed wide from 10 yards. Both sides had further chances later in the opening period, with Dibb-Fuller firing wide for Prudhoe.

Receiving the ball from a left wing short corner, Hexham’s Tom Hacking picked out Lewis Furness who was advancing from the right. His cross-cum shot sailed just wide of the far post.

Hexham’s purple patch led to an equaliser in the first minute of the second half, courtesy of Owen Murtough. The midfielder couldn’t quite connect with a low cross from the right, but as the ball fell behind him, he produced an impressive drag back before dispatching the ball low into the corner of the net.

Within five minutes, Prudhoe regained their advantage. Dibb-Fuller ran on to a superbly timed through ball from Danny Driver, and slotted past the advancing keeper. Hexham defender Robson raced back to the goal-line, but not quick enough to prevent the goal. In the closing stages, Prudhoe’s Ben Bloomer was floored in the penalty area and referee Barry Mudd pointed to the spot. Sam Moore made no mistake from 12-yards to put his side 3-1 up. Both sides had their fair share of goalscoring opportunities, but Prudhoe made the most of their chances, and showed why they are the league’s second highest scorers so far, with 43 goals.

In many respects, this was a typical local derby, with battles in every department of the field. But there was some quality football on show from both sides, with Prudhoe looking a real force in the final third.

Joseph Tulip