A BEN Gough error – and some poor finishing at the other end – gifted Ellistown and Ibstock United a point at Stapenhill on Monday evening.
Josh Wilkins’ scuffed shot should have been easy for the Swans keeper, but his weak effort ended up in the back of the net to deny the hosts all three points.
It was harsh on Gough, who had not put a foot wrong all match.
Steve Hart, with his ninth goal of the season, had given the Swans a sixth minute lead but Stapenhill were a shadow of the team which had hammered Anstey Nomads 10-1 on Saturday.
It all started so well for the Swans, with Matt Weightman trading passes with Tom Ellerton before firing just wide.
Then, Danny Chatfield found Hart with a free kick, and the striker turned sharply to beat United keeper Sam Taylor with a shot which took a slight deflection.
Lewis Campbell surged down the left moments later before crossing to Weightman, who glanced wide.
The early pressure continued with a long goal kick from Gough, which was flicked on by Weightman to Hart, who saw his shot held by Taylor.
United settled down and did not look like a team at the wrong end of the table.
On 10 minutes, former Gresley man Carl Timms’ inch-perfect through-ball sent Ben Harris clear, only for the striker to fire narrowly wide of Gough’s left-hand post.
Minutes later, the same player took advantage of a misplaced pass from Paul Furniss and went clear again, but although his lob beat the advancing Gough it also cleared the bar.
On 18 minutes, Carl Benson released Pat Rowell who made ground down the right before crashing the ball against the post.
The Swans woke up, with Gough finding Hart, who hooked the ball over.
Jordan Stevens crossed to Weightman, who saw his header pushed around the post by Taylor, and Ellerton outmuscled Shaquille Brooks along the byline before finding Weightman at the near post – but the striker’s casual strike was easily kept out by Taylor.
The visitors were always dangerous on the break with Tendai Chitiza beating the offside trap before crossing to the far post to Harris, who just failed to connect as he dived full-length.
As the half ended, Chitiza gave Benson an opportunity, but the striker shot straight at Gough.
On the restart, Chitiza picked up the ball, cut across the box and forced a decent save out of Gough.
The Swans responded, with Phil Wheildon’s vicious shot beaten out by Taylor to Hart, who was denied by a brave block from United captain Chris Rudkin.
Ellerton then traded passes with Hart but his weak finish was never going to trouble Taylor. On 75 minutes, Hart saw his first effort blocked, before blasting the follow-up wide.
United continued to create chances themselves. Benson put Chitiza through on goal but the busy winger fired over.
Evan Cawley then made a vital block to deny Pat Rowell.
On 78 minutes it came as no surprise when the visitors equalised.
Left-back Wilkins made steady and unhindered progress down the left and thought he would try his luck.
His weak strike should have been straightforward for Gough, but slipped through the keeper’s hands.
With momentum in their favour, United went all out for the winner. Richard Perry was prominent with clearing headers as corners and free kicks flew in.
At the other end, Taylor did well to claim a decent drive from Wheildon.
In injury time, Hart collected the ball on the right of the box and went for goal when a square pass to the unmarked Wheildon looked the better option.
GOALS: Hart 6 (Swans); Wilkins 78 (United).
STAPENHILL: Gough, Furniss, Cawley, Mander, Chatfield (Perry 56), Briscoe, Stevens, Ellerton, Weightman (Wheildon 64), Hart, Campbell. Sub not used: Jackson.
ELLISTOWN & IBSTOCK: Taylor, Hogan, Wilkins, Brooks, Unsworth, Timms, Rowell, Rudkin, Benson, Harris, Chitiza. Subs not used: Wainwright, Jeffrey, Mayo, Bradbury, Joynson.
SWANS STAR MAN: Tom Ellerton – put some of his team-mates to shame with his work ethic.
REFEREE: I Davies (Ravenstone).