Winsford United 2 Flixton 2
A cold, wet and windswept Barton Stadium saw an injury-hit Winsford side without Tony Sayers, Chris Sheppard. Mischa Showers and David Barnes and they struggled to put any meaningful moves together in the first half. Some strange decisions by the officials did not help matters.
They turned round a goal adrift and facing defeat.
However, the manager’s pep talk at half time did the trick and they turned in an astonishing second half performance.
Even conceding an early second goal did not dispirit them and they battled back to earn a point and might have taken all three.
Flixton were helped by some indecisive defending by the Blues in the first half and the visitors looked likely to score at any time.
The first goal was controversial. Mark Calland was adjudged to have fouled Steve Moore. The referee immediately pointed to the spot even though there was no appeal from the Flixton players and Moore calmly scored from the spot.
Winsford’s injury list was added to on 28 minutes when Michael Owens limped off and their opening half attacks all petered out with long range shots.
The closest they came to equalising was on 45 minutes when Ross Kennedy’s shot was saved at the second attempt by goalkeeper David Rouse.
Playing against a gale-force wind in the second half the Blues went two behind on 50 minutes when Anthony Hargreaves’ centre from the left was caught by a gust of wind that took it out of reach of Michael Langley and into the net.
From that moment on the hosts put adversity behind them. Darren Connell was having his best game in a Blues shirt and his 52 minute shot was deflected onto the post.
Two minutes later Kennedy’s header went inches wide but the midfielder fell awkwardly and another name was added to the injury list. On the hour the game might have been put out of reach when the referee ignored his assistant’s flag for a blatant foul on Dean Ennion and allowed the ball to go through to Moore and Hargreaves who were standing at least 10 yards offside. However, Langley did enough for Calland to get back and clear the ball off the line. Flixton lived to regret their miss as the home team began to pile on the pressure and they pulled a goal back on 72 minutes when Lee Duckworth’s cross from the left was headed home by Connell.
Les Miranda had a chance to equalise minutes later but his run in from the left ended with a shot that went inches over the bar. Another strange decision came on 77 minutes when, under pressure from the Winsford forwards a Flixton defender placed both hands on the ball as it lay on the ground but nothing was given. Two minutes later the Blues were level. Nobody had told John Bluck that it was impossible to play football in such conditions as he collected the ball on the halfway line and proceeded to take it past three defenders to the right bye line and into the area. Although he had a chance for glory himself he laid it back to Connell who drove it home inside the right post.
UNITED: Langley; Calland, Callaghan, Ridler, Duckworth; Bluck, Owens (Kennedy 28), Mason, Ennion; Miranda, Connell.