A battling Bridlington Town gained a well-earned point away to championship favourites Shaw Lane Aquaforce on Tuesday night. On a hard, uneven surface and with openings at a premium for both sides a share of the points was a fair reflection on the game.
The visitors created one of the few chances when Jarrod Smalley got the better of Gary Stohrer to put in a low cross that just evaded Ombeni Ruhanduka.
Will Waudby, who never shirked his responsibility for the full game, then struck a first time effort over the top after collecting a pass from Conner Harman.
Town goalkeeper James Hitchcock had already been the victim of an unfair aerial challenge when he was clattered again by Lee Morris and received treatment for a nosebleed before having to change his shirt.
Sheffield referee David Benton had seen fit to ignore some of Shaw Lane’s strong-arm tactics but after Tom Fleming had gone in late on Steven Istead he was shown his 13th yellow card of the season and was further warned for his protestations.
Luke O’Brien tried his luck for the hosts but Hitchcock was able to gather the ball at the second attempt and the goalkeeper also caught a header from Andrew Fox after Morris had headed the ball back across goal from a free kick.
With both defences standing firm and Shaw Lane centre back James Cotterill in particular winning every header each side managed only one attempt in a first half that also saw cautions for Harman, for not retreating from a free kick, and Shaw Lane skipper Sam Denton after arguing his point when he was penalised for a foul on Ruhanduka.
The Seasiders’ possibly edged the second period as the hosts found it difficult to get going although they gained two free kicks on the edge of the visitors’ penalty area but were unable to make anything of them.
Another free kick from further out was struck well by Denton but after Hitchcock had made a fine stop Chris Jenkinson completed the clearance.
Both camps made substitutions in their efforts to find a break through but, apart from a Ruhanduka effort that was deflected behind for a corner, the goals were hardly threatened.
Nine minutes from time Denton showed his frustration by throwing the ball at a Bridlington supporter and was shown a straight red card for his actions but despite the loss of their captain Shaw Lane held on to take another point towards the title and now lead the table by two points from Worksop Town and with a game in hand.
Town remained in sixth position ahead of tonight’s game between fifth-placed Barton Town Old Boys and Handsworth Parramore who were three points behind Town in seventh.
The Seasiders’ remaining two games are away to Nostell Miners’ Welfare on Saturday and the following week bring down the curtain on the league season with a home game against Glasshoughton Welfare who will end the campaign in bottom place.
Nostell have struggled for most of the season but their recent form has shown a turn around by winning five and drawing once in the last six games.