AT first glance, Ponteland United’s 1-0 victory over Seaton Delaval looked like a formality.

In the corresponding league fixture back in November, the Black and Whites put 10 goals past the Northern Alliance Premier Division’s basement side.

But it was a completely different story when the two teams lined up at Ponteland High School on Saturday.

The hosts were missing two of their most creative players, with Reece Havelock-Brown and Zac Bewley absent through injury, while Harrison Turnbull was starting a three match suspension.

The visitors, boosted by a considerable change in personnel in recent times, were much improved, while both sides had to deal with a strong crosswind.

It meant starts for Joe Collins, and player manager Liam McIvor, who slotted into the centre of defence.

The first opportunity fell to Pont when Henry Rawlinson curled a cross into the penalty area from the left, and Gary Cook hit a sweet volley over the crossbar.

Rawlinson combined well with Shane Brooks down the left, and the latter fed Dean Gallagher, who drilled his shot just wide of the upright.

Chris Hibbitt advanced out of defence with the ball before finding Ethan Bewley.

He exchanged passes with Cook before shooting at goal but the keeper pushed it around the post.

Ten minutes before half time, Bewley supplied Cook with a delightful chip over the defence and the striker found the net, only to be ruled offside.

In the closing stages of the first half, a break down the left by Delaval’s Sheriff Barrow left the defenders in his wake, but his well struck shot was comfortably saved by home keeper James Anderson.

Then a foul by Stephen Little just outside the penalty area gave Delaval an opportunity on the stroke of half time, but the defensive wall did its job effectively and cleared for a corner.

Pont had the wind in their favour after the break, and on 55 minutes Bewley was ruled to have been fouled in the box, and Collins calmly found the bottom corner from the resulting penalty.

Five minutes later, the hard working Collins was replaced by teenager Louis Calvert, who announced his arrival with a good shot which was palmed away by the keeper.

Gallagher hit the bar from the resulting corner, and the ball fell to Shaun Kirkup, and then Bewley, who couldn’t quite find a way through.

McIvor almost got himself on the scoresheet. A Gallagher free kick to the far post was slightly overhit, but McIvor retrieved the ball wide on the right and his high ball back in landed on the roof of the net.

Youngster Calvert went close again in the closing stages when his effort looked to have been tipped over the bar, only for the referee to award a goal kick.