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Stockport Sports 1-1 St Helens Town
8:11am Monday 17th February 2014 in Sport
The 3G pitch at Lambeth Grove came into its own on another wet Saturday and St. Helens Town used it to good effect to take their first point of 2014, to halt a run of five successive, if narrow defeats.
The 1-1 draw was a fair result on the day, both teams dominating for periods as the game ebbed and flowed and St. Helens enjoyed most of the first 35 minutes.
Leading scorer Andy Gillespie and recent recruit Tom Lightbody were in fine form and Gillespie in particular tormented the Stockport Sports defence with a series of good runs and he went close on numerous occasions.
He had the ball in the Stockport net as early as the fifth minute, but was flagged offside. Gillespie, Lightbody and Ed Richardson all went close with the latter testing home keeper Higginbottom from distance.
It seemed only a matter of when Town would score at this stage and it was a surprise when Stockport went on the attack and full-back Tom Bane launched a great shot from 40 yards out, which Ciaran Gibson was relieved to save.
From the keeper’s throw, the ball was moved quickly down the right on 23 minutes and Nathan Parish met the cross with great accuracy to prod home just inside the left-hand post to put Town 1-0 up.
The game appeared to turn in the final ten minutes of the half, with Stockport looking to level matters. First, Ben Halfacre let fly from 30 yards out and his ferocious shot hit the bar.
There was just enough time left for another Town attack, but Parish’s shot was just over the bar, following good work by Gillespie.
Stockport Sports began the second half in dominant mood, with Halfacre and Brooks making life difficult for the St. Helens defence. However, when the equaliser came on 66 minutes, it was from an unexpected route.
The Saxons were awarded a free-kick on the touchline and with the Town defenders concentrating on the big forwards, Bane’s free kick found his fellow full-back Jamie Street unmarked and he headed home from close range at the near post.
Town did well to weather the storm but they had to wait for the closing fifteen minutes of the half before their first opportunity to threaten the home goal, Gillespie bringing out a fine save from Higginbottom, but nobody was there to hit home the rebound. Gillespie then had another chance, following Crompton’s huge clearance, but Higginbottom was well-placed to deny the centre-forward.
In an end-to-end finish, Richardson had a half-chance following crisp passing between Parish and Jamil Saleh, but his shot from a tight angle was narrowly wide.
Saturday (22nd Feb) sees a scheduled match at Bacup & Rossendale Borough kick off 3.00pm