Evo Stik NPL Division One South
New Mills 2 Hucknall Town 2
A SECOND half comeback from New Mills ensured that they grabbed a deserved share of the spoils against play off contenders Hucknall Town at Church Lane on Monday evening.
Playing against a team that had lost just once in their previous six games, The Millers started the game very well with some neat crisp passing movements.
Their early dominance should have been rewarded in the 12th minute when Leon Grandison was unceremoniously barged over in the penalty area by Hucknall full back Craig Armstrong, but it was decreed that no foul had taken place to leave the home faithful completely baffled.
New Mills were caught with a sucker punch and conceded the first goal as Hucknall scored with virtually their first effort in the 27th minute. Curtis Shaw’s precise pass carved open the home defence and Callum Lloyd ran onto the through ball to coolly slot past the advancing James Coates.
Skipper Carlos Meakin very nearly drew The Millers level within five minutes but after rising majestically to meet Luke Horrocks’s cross, his header unluckily grazed the outside of the upright. Horrocks himself then had an opportunity but after doing well to create his own space around the edge of the area, his shot was too near to James Lindley who pushed away the danger.
Those close calls became even more critical when Hucknall doubled their advantage six minutes from the interval. Luke Horrocks and Danny Jackson got themselves in a tangle close to the touchline and Anthony Gregory’s pass released striker Phil Massingham. Whilst those close to the incident suggested that there were decent claims for offside, play was allowed to continue and there was no doubting the quality of Massingham’s twenty five yard strike which visibly dipped and moved in the air to give James Coates absolutely no chance as the ball rocketed into the top corner.
There was still time left in the half for Carlos Meakin to charge down a clearance from Town keeper James Lindley. The ricochet was unkind to the midfielder as it drove him too wide of the goal to shoot and his percentage ball across the face of six yard box was intercepted by a lunging Hucknall defender just in front of the quickly advancing Ashley Stott.
Seven minutes into the second half Grant Ryan cut inside Jordan Edridge and if his shot had gone in rather than cannoning back off the inside of the post, it would have been doubtful that New Mills would have recovered from a three goal deficit.
Within 60 seconds, The Millers had gone down to the other end of the pitch and halved the arrears when Carlos Meakin was the recipient of a ball over the static looking Hucknall defence who appealed vainly for offside. The home skipper kept his cool as he calmly rolled the ball under James Lindley to get his side right back into the game.
This goal gave New Mills a great deal of heart as they repeatedly attacked Hucknall’s goal and Leon Grandison should possibly have done better in the seventy second minute when his attempted lob over the goalkeeper went wide of the target.
Both teams exchanged good chances as the game neared its conclusion, but with eight minutes to go, The Millers got themselves back on level terms and for the first time in a number of weeks, whilst Leon Grandison’s low shot from just inside the box seemed harmless enough, it evaded James Lindley who somehow allowed the ball to go straight through his legs and he could only look back in horror as the ball trickled slowly into the back of his net.
This was no less than New Mills deserved and it would have been unjust if Callum Lloyd’s stoppage time header had robbed them of the pointthat their hard working performance had merited.