“I think a point each is probably fair given that both sides hit the woodwork! We defended well against an excellent attack but missing a penalty when we were one up was crucial!” That was John Evans comments straight after the game when he named Mark Pritchett and Matt Bennett as men of the match!
To be honest this was a much better performance from Shortwood. Largely dominant in the first half they were creative and Matt Bennett provided a stream of dangerous crosses and the back four mainly snuffed out the North Leigh attack although Keiran Saunders looked dangerous whenever he ran at the defence. Joe Tustain shot wide early after good work from Gullick and Caton almost sliced the ball into his own net after a good Bennett cross. Shortwood were shutting down North Leigh at every opportunity and restricted their passing game restricting them to playing the long ball which was meat and drink to Pritchett and Thomas. Gullick turned and shot narrowly wide and Shortwood had an excellent shout for a penalty when Haddock was bowled over as he ran into the box. In fact it was 43 minutes before North Leigh looked dangerous and only a great sliding tackle from Pritchett stopped Mills from getting a shot away.
Both sides attacked with a will in the second half and a fascinating and entertaining game ensued. The introduction of giant forward Deabill after 55 minutes gave North Leigh a better cutting edge and he clipped the top of the bar with a header after an hour while Tustain was denied by a great challenge when he was about to shoot. After 63 minutes Bennett unleashed a pile driver that keeper Warrell just got a touch to but that was enough for the ball to smack the bar and rebound to safety. Sanders headed over for North Leigh, and Gullick’s terrific low cross was just inches away from the onrushing Langworthy. Shortwood had an escape when Hopkins great drive smacked against Tom King’s post after 77 minutes but from this Wood broke away. Bennett crossed and Gullick shot but Warrell parried the effort. Langworthy was the fastest to react however and slammed the ball home. Still Wood pressed and had a golden opportunity to double their advantage when Langworthy was brought down in the box. Gullick’s penalty lacked power and Warrell saved. Buoyed by this let off North Leigh powered forward and put Shortwood under pressure and with 7 minutes to go Caton headed the equaliser.
Both sides poured forward and press for the winner and Langworthy headed wide and both sides had to settle for the point.
Team: King, Coates, Axton, Pritchett, Thomas, Haddock, Tustain (Langworthy 62), Parrott, Gullick, Baldwin, Bennett: