Muck and nettles.
A real arm wrestle of a match.
A foul count off the scale.
A red card.
Yep, this was your classic, Boxing Day, non-league local derby. Two teams going at each other hammer and tongue and the shares spoiled at the end of it all…although, realistically, we had chances to wrap all three points up towards the end. But more of that later.
A passion play in two parts.
Nomads certainly with the upper hand for a majority of the first half, deservedly taking the lead, cursing their rotten luck as their main striker pulled up with a hamstring injury and then cursing substitute Ben Connolly as he lasted all of 30 seconds before being sent off for a rash lunge at Ollie Hatfield-Banton.
Then it was our turn to take to the stage, equalising early-ish in the second half and then squandering two gilt-edged chances in the dying embers of the match.
The tension of a cagey opening was broken 11 minutes in as Nomads provided the first shot in anger, scooping wide from a pull-back.
Robbie Wallis then went down the other end shortly afterwards only to see his decent chance blocked by the keeper before Nomads took the lead on 22 minutes when Leon Grandison was correctly positioned to tuck home the loose ball after it had cannoned off the crossbar.
Four minutes later Lawrence Taylor - on loan to us from Trafford for a month so that he can get some game time following a long injury - looked to be galloping through on the right but was hacked down by a rather dangerous-looking challenge.
Once the arguments had died down Taylor himself stepped up to take the free-kick and was unlucky to see his effort smack the crossbar.
There were no more decent chances of note that half but two incidents that stopped Nomads in their tracks. First of all scorer Grandison pulled up sharply on the right wing clutching the back of his thigh and that was the end of his involvement; all of us at Cheadle Town FC wish him a speedy recovery as we all know how disruptive a hamstring injury can be.
And then, as Nomads reshuffled the pack, they brought on ex-Cheadle player Ben Connolly to fill the gap. No sooner had he entered the field when we was swiftly removed by the referee via a red card and so Nomads had to reshuffle again.
As alluded to, we had the better of the second half.
Conor Naughton headed wide in the opening exchanges before we got our equaliser on 53 minutes. Nathan Ntalu’s good work down the right saw him square for Lawrence Taylor who stroked the ball home in one movement.
Robbie Wallis was then sent clear down the left but just couldn’t get enough purchase on his shot, allowing it to be blocked by the keeper and spin harmlessly to safety.
Nomads were still dangerous and Danny Whiting had to be alert to spectacularly tip over a fierce drive from the right on 62 minutes.
Lawrence Taylor’s awkward, low free-kick almost deceived the Nomads keeper on 69 minutes before Ben Brooks headed just over from a corner as the match was entering the final ten minutes.
Nomads thankfully couldn’t capitalise on a short back pass before we then had two glorious opportunities to edge ahead, both of which fell at the door of Nathan Ntalu.
On 85 minutes he looked certain to bundle home a Ben Brooks cross from the left but the ball was somehow cleared off the line at the last minute and was then on the end of an Ollie cross from the right but planted his header wide.
It’s just the one league defeat in six matches now. We hope to continue that decent run of form this Saturday as we entertain Ellesmere Rangers at Park Road.
TEAM: Whiting, Neild, Wallis (Christopher), German, Dunn, Hatfield-Banton, Ntalu, Taylor, Clooney (Sheriff), Naughton, Brooks. SUBS: Christopher, Ratican, Sheriff.