Jamie Rainford netted an injury time equaliser to give ten-man Glossop North End a point that felt like three against Spennymoor United on Saturday.
An incident early in the first half had seen the Hillmen fighting the odds for the majority of the game, and the leveller was reward for their never-say-die endeavour.
It was Matt Russell who saw a red card in the 27th minute for an incident off the ball involving Spennymoor striker Liam Henderson. Very few in the ground saw it, but the story goes that Russell retaliated with a kick at the striker after he raked his studs down his leg.
The referee only saw Russell’s part in the fracas and dismissed him. Russell had been naive; the unpunished Spennymoor man targeted a reaction and the unsavoury congratulations he got from colleagues after the red card suggested a job well done.
There was worse to come. Russell’s kick had taken place in the box, and with the ball still live, the referee awarded a penalty. Joe Tait stepped up and just beat Hall’s dive to give his side the lead.
Prior to that, Spennymoor had started the brighter, with Ian Watson skying a good opportunity on a tight angle way over and the influential Scott Kerr forcing Hall into a good full length save from his free kick. Post-penalty North End firstly had to get to half time only one goal down and regroup in the changing rooms.
The second half saw North End revitalised and they had the first opportunity of the second half when Astley Mulholland was brought down 20 yards out. Jamie Rainford stepped up and curled a beauty around the wall and into the net at the near post.
Five minutes later debutant Chris McDonagh headed into the side netting and the Hillmen looked comfortable. However, that would change in the 68th minute.
Spennymoor finally played like a team with an extra man, using the ball nicely on the floor to use the space in the middle for Henry to burst into before he laid the ball right to Henderson at the corner of the box.
Henderson cut inside onto his left foot and looked to chip the ball into the top corner over Hall. His shot deflected off Dave Young’s shin and looped over the stranded keeper and into the net.
From that point Glossop had to try and press, but were very vulnerable on the break. Substitute Danny Frost forced another save from Hall, and Anthony Peacock ought to have scored when Lewis Hawkins got the by-line, drew Hall towards him and cut back to the sub, but he dithered over his tap in from the penalty spot sufficiently for Hall to recover and save.
Then, in the first minute of injury time, a GNE pass came from the half way line was fired towards the centre of the box. Tom Bailey was the target, but he dummied it. Rainford read the feign whilst the defenders didn’t, and that gave Rainford a vital half yard on the back line. He didn’t need a second invitation, curling a shot from the edge of the area into the corner, sparking a squad pile-on.