New Mills share the spoils despite below-par performance

Evo-Stik Division One North: New Mills 1, Cammell Laird 1

New Mills and Cammell Laird shared the spoils on Saturday.

The home side, full of confidence after last weekend’s FA Trophy victory against Coalville Town, took the lead after five minutes when Daniel Grimshaw’s pinpoint cross from the right was headed home by the unchallenged Michael Fish.

Rather than giving The Millers the impetus, the early goal seemed to have the reverse effect as the home players squandered possession on a number of occasions and this invited pressure from Cammell Laird.

The Merseysiders, who are unbeaten since the first week of October, equalised in the 20th minute. New Mills’ back line looked in vain for an offside flag and ultimately striker Jamie Henders had the comparatively easy task of rounding Andrew Mills and scoring.

The Millers’ best opportunity to regain the lead came just after the half hour with arguably their best move of the game. Good link-up play down the left saw David Fitzpatrick cut a left-wing ball across the face of the box to where Fish flashed his instinctive effort inches past the far upright.

Into the second half, Fitzpatrick’s free-kick was finger-tipped away by Kevin Atherton, which was almost immediately followed by Henders’ curling effort which beat Mills as well as his far post.

The best opportunity came in the last five minutes when Laird’s Joe Holt escaped his marker down the right flank. As the midfielder bore down on goal, he had Aaron Bowen and Henders unmarked to his left but with his two team-mates screaming for the ball which would have resulted in a probable tap-in, Holt elected to shoot rather than pass and his effort went straight into the very grateful hands of the exposed Mills.

New Mills have set themselves high standards over the course of the last few games but a rare below par performance, combined with stubborn and resilient opposition, prevented them from playing their familiar high energy, high tempo football.

New Mills: Mills, Headley, Fitzpatrick, Grimshaw (Armstrong), Bowler, Weston, Meakin, Young, Fish (Hampson), Moore (Grandison), Horrocks. Unused subs: Innes, Burgess.