On a gloomy Saturday afternoon a crowd of 102 saw another scrappy game where the ‘Scholars’ again let all three points slip away.
The home side started assuredly and took the game to the opposition – a factor that was maintained throughout the game – with the midfield duo of Chris Doyle and Billy Adcock either looking to release the wingers – Ashley Nathaniel-George and Max Holland - or play the ball through to Michael Murray to flick on to allow Rob Hastings time and space to run onto the ball.
The intention was always there but the ability to make the final telling pass or play the accurate ball kept eluding the forward play and so often the pressure evaporated into nothing.
On 24 mins a goal came when a ball in from the right saw Ashley Nathaniel-George challenging the keeper and right back who also went for the ball and the final touch saw an own goal credited to Callum Mapley.
In a light drizzle the home side continued to ask the questions of the visitors defence without creating clear cut opportunities and with the home keeper rarely involved half time arrived with the home side enjoying a comfortable one goal advantage.
The second half continued in the same vein with Ashley Nathaniel-George seeing more of the ball and on two occasions going on runs into the left of the box but either being crowded out or his ball across eluding other forwards.
On 56 min the scores were suddenly level when a regulation cross in from the right was caught by Berkley Laurencin but then dropped at the grateful feet of centre forward Aaron Berry who slotted home the equaliser.
The home side continued to have more possession but struggled for fluency going forward. Three attacking substitutions saw the introduction of Danny Hart, Joe Bennett and then Ryan Forde to add speed and forward runs but still the possession could not be turned into meaningful goal scoring opportunities.
So the game finished one apiece – the visitors had created few real attempts on goal but then despite having the greater possession the home side had also not seriously tested their keeper.
A frustrating performance built on a solid defence platform provided by Omar Vassell, Garry Jones, Carl McCluskey and Will Wambeek and not without a lot of hard work and endeavour but no cutting edge in the penalty box to make that vital difference.
‘The Scholars’ remain 8th and seven points off the play off places with six league games remaining.
Team: Berkley Laurencin, Omar Vassell, Garry Jones, Carl McCluskey, Will Wambeek, Billy Adcock (Ryan Forde 76 mins), Max Holland (Joe Bennett 66 mins), Chris Doyle, Michael Murray Rob Hastings, Ashley Nathaniel-George (Danny Hart 66 mins).
Man of the Match: Chris Doyle – worked so hard to make something happen.
Updated 21:02 - 18 Mar 2017 by Jeff Barnes