Ash sees red as Dynamo draw
Ten-man Loughborough Dynamo held on to secure a 2-2 draw against promotion chasing Frickley Athletic, in a hotly contested affair at the Nanpantan Sports Ground.
The draw continued Dynamo’s five match unbeaten league run, but they will feel hard done by after surging into an early two goal lead, following composed finishes from Karl Demidh and Alistair Smith.
A wonderful volley from Teddy Bloor halved the deficit in the 43rd minute, which was more than the away side deserved after a flat first half performance.
However, after the break Frickley looked a different side and squandered some wonderful chances, before the game turned when Ash Hodgkinson was sent off for a raised arm on the hour.
With the man advantage, Frickley quickly equalised from the penalty spot, and although both sides had chances to win the game, on balance a draw was fair result for both teams.
The game could not have started any better for Dynamo, as Demidh’s first-time shot from 12 yards out beat goalkeeper Seb Malkowski at his near post following a well-worked throw in.
Far from content with simply holding on to their advantage, the home side looked to add to their lead. With four minutes on the clock, Demidh shot narrowly wide of the post, before being called back for a questionable offside decision when clean through on goal two minutes later.
Centre-back Carl Sibson then went close to adding a second goal as he rose highest to meet a wonderful cross from Luke Thorogood, only to see his powerful header fly over the cross bar with 12 minutes gone.
Frickley, finally began to show why they started the day in fourth place in the league, as striker Stephen Hopewell went close to an equaliser on four occasions.
After putting his first effort over the bar, the striker brought the best out of debutant keeper Jamie Hannis with a flicked header following a 19th minute corner. Ten minutes later he fired a volley against the cross bar from the edge of the area, and with 31 minutes gone failed to beat the keeper from point blank range.
Despite conceding those chances Dynamo were still looking to get forward whenever possible and after 37 minutes, they got their reward. Malkowski failed to deal with a long ball and was robbed of possession outside his area by Demidh. The striker showed great composure to hold up the ball, before a net back heal teed up Smith to fire a low shot into the far corner of the net.
With Dynamo looking in complete control of the contest, Frickley gave themselves a life-line with just two minutes of the first half remaining. Winger Thomas Dugdale delivered a good cross from the left to pick out Bloor in space. The midfielder met the ball on the volley, sending his shot into the roof of the net, with Hannis given no chance.
Frickley were sent out early for the second half, and the ploy seemed to work as the away side should have been level after just 60 seconds. However, midfielder Hazel put his effort wide of an open net after a poor Hannis clearance.
The home side did not heed the warning as their slow start to the half continued. With Hopewell going close twice more, first when putting his header over the bar from a 51st minute corner and then when firing a volley high and wide when clean through two minutes later.
Dynamo were clearly rattled, and frustrations boiled over on the hour mark as Hodgkinson left midfielder Richard Patterson in a heap. The referee agreed with protests from the away dugout that the striker had raised his arm, and showed the home team’s captain a red card.
Worse was to come for Dynamo just two minutes later, as the referee pointed to the spot following a foul in the penalty area. Hazel kept his cool from 12 yards to equalise for the away side.
With the momentum now all with Frickley, a man disadvantage and seemingly every referring decision going against them, it would have been easy for Dynamo to crumble. But instead the home side showed great spirit and a tireless work ethic, as they denied Frickley any more clear chances.
In the final minute of normal time, the home side almost snatched a winner. Demidh and Luke Smithson broke away down the left flank, before setting up Smith, who – having sprinted sixty yards to support the attack, put his effort over the bar when well placed at the edge of the penalty area.