Vodkat Premier Division
Monday February 14
New Mills AFC 4............................
Maine Road 4................................
A LAST gasp Steve Moore equaliser secured New Mills a point in an action-packed game against bogey side Maine Road.
The visitors to Church Lane, unbeaten in their last three contests against the Millers, made the perfect start as they took the lead after just 80 seconds. The home side conceded a free kick right on the edge of their penalty area and Rob Brocklehurst curled the ball over the defensive wall.
New Mills struggled to gain a foothold in the game as the conditions underfoot didn’t allow them to gain any fluency in their normal passing game.
Just as frustration was starting to kick in both on and off the pitch, the Millers equalised in the 27th minute.
Adam Mather twice found Carlos Meakin, only for the skipper to be denied by a combination of Maine Road keeper Andrew Jones and the woodwork. But when the ball fell into the path of Chris Hirst, he tidied up the rebound from no more than a yard.
Seemingly back in the game, the home side shot themselves in the foot ten minutes later when they carelessly gave the ball away in midfield. Maine Road took full advantage with Liam Beckford’s cross being swept home at the near post by Eddie Moran.
The visitors doubled their advantage on the stroke of half time. Midfielder Declan O’Shea tried his luck from distance, and keeper Ben Procter maybe should have done better than merely diverting it into the bottom corner of his net.
Less than five minutes of the second half had elapsed when Luke Horrocks’ left wing cross was half cleared to Leon Grandison, who was on hand to gratefully slot home the rebound.
With the home side virtually camped out in Maine Road’s half, the equalising goal finally arrived with 20 minutes remaining. Mather once again delivered a pinpoint cross and his free kick was headed home by Hirst who completed a double over his old team-mates.
Maine Road retook the lead two minutes later when the Millers defence failed to deal with a harmless looking Matthew Struminskyj cross and, after a couple of deflections and a scramble, Declan O’Shea was on hand at the back post to force the ball home.
It looked like Maine Road would complete the double over the Millers but the resilient home side conjured up a dramatic equaliser with virtually the last kick of the game.
With four minutes of injury time played, substitute Kingsley Grandison’s cross found Moore who expertly found the back of the net to register his 20th goal of the season and help the home side grab a share of the spoils.
A draw was probably the right outcome but both teams deserve great credit for producing such an excellent game in such testing conditions.
New Mills: Procter, Bowler, Mather, Barras, Coyne, Innes, Meakin, Hirst, L Grandison, Moore, Horrocks (K Grandison).