Cheadle Town 2-2 Eccleshall

One of those draws that felt like a defeat.

In the third of five minutes of injury time, 2-1 ahead and with a lively Eccleshall side exactly where we wanted them, a misjudged clearance attempt leads to a penalty for the visitors and all the hard work of the previous ninety minutes, and the opportunity to enter double figures on the points tally, is swept away from twelve yards.


For those with a mathematical leaning, the penalty offered perfect symmetry to the match, providing the purest of bookends given that we had taken the lead with virtually the first attack.

With barely a minute gone Warren Gaskin found himself in the unfamiliar territory of the opposition half, placing a sumptuous cross from the right for Ben Brooks to steal in at the far post and nod us into a very early lead.

Eccleshall’s first attempt on goal came on 11 minutes when a long-range effort drifted wide with our next half-decent chance coming shortly afterwards when Justin Pickering’s shot from the right cannoned off the keeper and was just begging for somebody to tap it home as it rolled across the face of goal.

Justin then saw a free-kick go just wide of the upright before another ball across the face of goal wasn’t converted just after the half-hour mark; Paul Sunderland providing for Andrew Lunt this time, the latter just failing to get his legs around the ball.

And that was that in terms of clear-cut chances for the rest of the half with both sides poking and prodding each other.

Five minutes into the second half the match was suddenly level.

Seemingly in a non-threatening position some 40+ yards out, Eccleshall’s Jake Langridge unleashed a vicious shot that sailed in over Martin Blain’s head.

Eight minutes later, we provided a response.

Having just come on as substitute, Patrick Davin made an absolute nuisance of himself in the goalmouth, ultimately recovering a stray ball on the left before feeding it to Hamzat who planted a cross to the far post for Paul Sunderland to nod home our second of the evening.

Just five minutes after that, Eccleshall looked set to draw things level again as they raced clear on goal only for Martin Blain to come out and make an excellent block.

They then volleyed over a loose ball from a corner before the match went into a lull with neither team creating anything and Eccleshall going down to ten men on the 87th minute after their no9 was sin-binned for dissent.

But then, as stoppage time loomed, all manner of action.

Eccleshall had a penalty claim turned down and, as the protests and histrionics were still audible, we went down the other end where Ben Brooks stooped low for a cross but couldn’t quite bundle his header home from close range.

There was even time for one more chance for us after Louis Downs had converted Eccleshall’s late penalty; Lord knows to what level the celebrations would have reached had Justin Pickering’s shot from the right not been blocked by the keeper.

Anyhow, 2-2 it finished. It keeps the decent form going - just the one defeat in eight matches in all competitions now - and we hope that the frustration of dropping two points is channelled into our performance this Saturday as we travel to Selby Town in the 1st Round of the FA Vase.


TEAM: Blain, Hendley, Hamzat, Clayton (Chappell), Gaskin, Hatfield-Banton, Pickering, Lunt (Johnson), Russell (Davin), Sunderland, Brooks. SUBS: Chappell, Whiting (gk), Machado Le Gal, Johnson, Davin.