Runcorn Linnets 1, Glossop North End 1
Goals from Kelvin Lugsden and Kevin Towey, combined with a last-minute penalty save by Ben Proctor, provided brilliant viewing for the 262 supporters.
Damien Eastham struggled with the blustery conditions and went close to conceding when he could only tip Adam Oakes’ floated cross over his bar.
The Hillmen were dominating the possession but struggling in the final third. Sam Hind nearly took advantage of a dangerous Oakes corner when the ball fell to him in the box, but his overhead kick fell just over the bar.
Taking advantage of the conditions, Proctor’s clearances were reaching Andrew Sensale’s feet at the edge of the opposition box. Sensale controlled one such chance, rounded the defender and then produced a good save from Eastham. Both sides then had penalty shouts waved away as half-time approached.
The second half was a different story to the first, with Linnets controlling the play and using the wind in their favour. The home side went close to breaking the deadlock when Paul Prescott’s header from a floated cross was brilliantly cleared off line by an alert Nick Allen.
Linnets then opened the scoring courtesy of substitute striker Towey on 72 minutes. A poor clearance from the Glossop defence was collected in midfield by Runcorn and Towey was immediately sent through, sweeping the ball expertly into the side of the net.
Linnets nearly put the game beyond the Hillmen when an initial smart save from Proctor fell to Adam Wade, but his effort was cleared off the line.
Glossop got a deserved equaliser with five minutes to play. Oakes collected the ball on the wing, beat his defender and whipped in a cross across the face of goal where Lugsden was on hand to convert the diving header.
It looked like the game was destined to finish 1-1 until in additional time when Runcorn were awarded a penalty after a tangle of legs in the box. Sean Pearson stepped up, but his penalty was superbly saved by Proctor high and to his right.
A fitting end to an exciting game that neither team deserved to lose.