Shortwood United 1
Stratford Town 1
SHORTWOOD United battled back to claim a point against Stratford Town at Meadowbank on Tuesday night.
Wood stalwart Matt Bennett bagged a late leveller for Wood to cancel out a first-half penalty from Tyrone Fagan and Wood could have forced a win in the dying moments.
Joint boss John Evans was pleased to see his side battle back to earn a point after their crazy 4-3 defeat at Swindon Supermarine on Saturday – a game they had led 3-0 at the break.
“We improved a lot in the second half and we could have nicked it in the end – but our defending was much better,” Evans said.
There was nothing to choose between Matt Bennett and Will Morford for man of the match.”
Stratford started the better of the two sides as Tom King was twice forced into making early saves.
The Wood keeper denied Alex Price from a second minute free kick and then pulled off a terrific save to deny Fagan.
Stratford took a deserved lead in the 28th minute, although the goal was somewhat contentious.
King saved well from Fagan and as the ball went away from goal Sam Adkins went over in the box and the assistant referee flagged for a penalty to the bemusement of those on the pitch.
Jake Lee was booked for his involvement and Fagan made Wood feel all the more aggrieved when he slotted home from the spot.
Wood used their annoyance to claw their way back into the game and by the break were showing flashes of their best football.
And right from the start of the second half Wood were on top. Morford squared to Adam Price when a shot might have been the better option
Then Marley Thomas supplied a delightful cross which Tim Haddock, ghosting in, headed over.
Thomas was having a field day down the flank and from another excellent cross Bennett fired just wide.
Phil Veal came on with Lee pushing forward from centre back to centre forward and Wood looked ever more dangerous.
Bennett fired another shot over before Shortwood deservedly levelled with give minutes to go. Ross Langworthy hit a terrific curling shot which Andy Kemp, at full stretch managed to tip over the angle.
But when Langworthy hit the corner to the near post Matt Bennett slammed the ball home at the second attempt.
Wood had a scare when Loyiso Recci had an effort cleared off the line but at the other end, Wood almost fashioned a winner of their own from an unlikely source.
Big defender Ash Thomas let fly with venom from the edge of the area and the ball dipped late and Kemp took the full force of the effort in his face.
The Stratford keeper needed treatment before his side could see out the remaining minute as the game ended all square.
Shortwood: T King, S Rawlings, N Humphreys, A Thomas, J Lee, T Haddock, M Thomas, (R Langworthy 71), N Hancock (L Sommers 75), M Bennett, W Morford, A Price (P Veal 60). Subs not used: B Snook, A Herbert