A frantic end to a close encounter between Paget Rangers and Heath Hayes meant both teams walked away with a point.
Heath Hayes arrived at the Trevor Brown Memorial Ground with one aim, to cause trouble, and so they did. Early on they forced Josh Benton to prove his worth when Jack Weldon’s shot was met with an excellent save from the Bears’ number one!
The Bears responded with a counter attach which ended with Daniel Carter sending the ball wide. It didn’t take long for the visitors to test the Paget defence again, Weldon this time trying to unsuccessfully chip Benton.
Both teams took turns to attack, and it was the Hayes that arguably had the better chances but the Staffordshire side wasted them all.
In the 17th minute the away fans thought they were about to witness Heath Hayes open the scoring as a defensive error allowed Connor Haddaway to go through on goal, again Benton produced a fantastic save to keep the score level.
With the knowledge that they had just experienced a narrow escape the Wee Gers countered, but Luke Bradley’s cross could not be met by Zach Brown. Moments later a bit of magic from Billy Fagg allowed the Paget midfielder to slip Carter through but DC sent his shot just wide.
As half-time loomed the Hayes had another great chance as Regan Smith hit the post, and Paget thought they’d escaped again. Only minutes later Benton saved another Heath Hayes attempt, but this time James McGeady was there to knock the rebound in.
The second half saw an improved performance from the home side, but Heath Hayes remained resilient to the Bears attempts at penetrating their defence. As the games ticked on the Hayes wasted countless chances to put an equaliser out of reach, as the Wee Gers struggled to find the net.
It looked like the Bears were never going to draw level, however as the game entered the final 10 minutes great link up play between Lemaar Rhule, Ross Dempster and Carter saw the ball reach Matthias Blake who volleyed it past the Mark Wiggins at near near post.
Both teams looked rejuvenated after the Paget equaliser and the next goal could have been scored by anybody, but with just minutes left of regular play Smith headed in what ought to have been the winner.
Paget didn’t give up and a minute into stoppage time Bradley had earned a throw in on the left side, he launched it into the box and it was headed away only as far as Rhule who volleyed it into the bottom corner.
At kick off the Hayes’ Smith sent the ball hurtling toward the Paget goal but couldn’t trouble Benton. The game wasn’t over and Paget were determined to find the winner. After their last attack failed Heath Hayes countered but McGeady sent his shot over and at that, the ref called full-time.
Updated 21:34 - 21 Feb 2018 by Joshua Smith