Long Eaton United 1
Bridlington Town 1
NCEL Premier Division
BRIDLINGTON Town will regard this as two points lost rather than one gained as Long Eaton hardly posed a threat during the whole 90 minutes and their equaliser came from a horrendous mistake in the Town defence.
With rain falling for the entire match the visitors played some commendable football on a sticky, uneven pitch but were unable to convert all but one of the numerous chances that they created.
Mitch Cook made one change from the side that defeated Armthorpe in midweek with Tom Lee coming in on the left of defence and Chris Batchelor moved into midfield at the expense of Josh Greenin,g who admitted that this was not the type of pitch that suited him.
Town started brighter than their opponents, who played with just Martin Cameron up front, but it was Long Eaton’s Danny Gordon who had the first strike at goal, sending his effort two yards wide.
The visitors began to stamp their authority on the game and, after receiving the ball from Tom Fleming, Carl Stewart played it back for Batchelor to put it wide of the angle.
Nathan Cook then drove wide of goalkeeper Scott Miles’ left hand post following a Stewart throw in.
A bad touch by Billy Logan gave Danny Gordon the opportunity to take the ball deep into the Town half where Batchelor got across to alleviate the danger.
Batchelor curled a 25-yard free kick low and wide then released Logan who found Stewart whose shot was deflected for a corner from which Cook’s effort was cleared almost off the line.
Gordon was the main threat for Long Eaton and when he went past both Logan and Aziz, the latter did well to get in a recovering tackle, enabling Wilberforce to collect the ball.
Town almost went ahead when, from a good move that was started in defence, Carl Stewart converted a pass from Cook only to see the offside flag raised and Cook headed a Billy Logan cross was against a post.
Gordon again got into the Town area but his cross was easily cleared away from two United players then Cameron got the better of Lee, although the defender appeared to be fouled, and Batchelor got in to turn the ball behind.
From the corner Chris Jenkinson made a good block before Zack Hilton shot the loose ball straight at Wilberforce.
A long ball forward by Ash Allanson found Hogg in an offside position while Stewart saw his 30-yard strike parried by goalkeeper Scott Miles and Town’s leading scorer miscued another attempt from a good position.
Just before the end of a half in which the Seasiders’ had possibly 70% of the play, Mark Wilberforce held on to a low shot from 35 yards by Hilton.
On the resumption Hogg went down the left flank but from his ball in Stewart headed straight at Miles and Tom Fleming had an attempt blocked.
Long Eaton’s first attack of the half saw them get through three tackles to gain a corner, which came to nothing.
Fleming played the ball forward and Miles had to run out to the edge of his penalty area to take the ball off Stewart as he closed in on goal.
Stewart then showed good control before feeding Hogg who slipped the ball inside for Cook but Miles got to it first. The goalkeeper then caught a header from Cook following a move involving Allanson, Fleming and Hogg.
Town continued to press and were unfortunate not to take the lead after 55 minutes. Batchelor was playing more forward to good effect and his run towards the Long Eaton penalty area was unceremoniously stopped right on the edge.
The ball ran to Hogg and Leicester referee Geoff Law played the advantage as Hogg went on to put the ball past Miles. A flag happy assistant referee raised his flag for offside and the goal was ruled out but instead of bringing play back for the foul on Batchelor the referee awarded a free kick to the home side.
He later apologised for his mistake.
Four minutes later Batchelor went on another run only to be scythed down by Mark Littlewood who received a severe talking to. Stewart touched the free kick to Billy Logan who hammered an unstoppable shot into the top corner of the net.
Long Eaton used up their three substitutions in an attempt to stop the red tide but a Batchelor-influenced Town pushed forward and his pass for Stewart was cut out then Stewart was unfortunate when he saw a shot come back off a post.
Although the Seasiders looked comfortable they were undone six minutes from time when a ball into their half found Shay Wiggins with just Chris Jenkinson in attendance.
Wilberforce inexplicably came racing out of his area without much hope of getting to the ball first and the substitute’s touch put him in the clear to put the ball into an empty net. The entire team ran to congratulate him in relief after being outplayed for much of the game.
Long Eaton were pegged back in the last few minutes as Town went after the winner with both Batchelor and Greening sending shots just too high and an in swinging corner from Greening deserved better as both Hogg and Scott Phillips, on late for the injured Batchelor, failed to connect.
This was Bridlington’s second successive away draw and, with the three teams below them all winning, their lead has now been cut to one point.
On Saturday Town are at home to lowly Nostell Miners’ Welfare while two of their nearest rivals, Brighouse Town and Worksop Parramore, meet at the Dual Seal Stadium.