Pilkington 1 Greenalls Padgate St Oswalds 1
AFTER such a disappointing display on Saturday at home to Crewe, it was important for Greenalls to react in a positive way on Tuesday against a Pilkington side who last season flirted with relegation.
This season, the St Helens side have brought in a new manager and an abundance of new players, which has people talking about them as title contenders.
They comfortably dispatched of Styal on Saturday 5-0, which made people stand up and take notice.
A big blow to Greenalls prior to kick off was the loss of centre back Adam Prescott, who pulled his thigh in the warm up.
This forced the Hughes' to pull Dobson into centre back and Adam Jones came in for a start at right back.
Greenalls started the game on the front foot and were pinning the men in blue back constantly.
Ewan Rodger was proving a real handful up top alongside Ben McWilliams.
It wasn't until the 24th minute that the game saw it's first goal, when a slide rule pass from right back by Adam Jones found McWilliams who raced clear and fired in off the post from 12 yards.
Rodger was next to go close as he raced clear himself but when well placed, blazed the ball high and wide.
On 36 minutes some great midfield play from the Hughes brothers sent McWilliams clear again but his rasping shot was expertly turned onto his own post by the Pilks 'keeper.
It was on 42 minutes when, against the run of play, Pilkington levelled matters.
Lloyd Dean, the Pilks forward, showed great skill in a wide area and produced almost the perfect cross, which found the onrushing Calvin Birchall who had found the gap between Johns and Rogers, and he tapped in at the back post.
The second half saw Pilkington take control of the game for the first 20 minutes, but Greenalls' defence stood firm and kept the home team at bay. Dowsett and Dobson in particular were in excellent form in shackling the two lively forwards.
The game turned ugly on 76 minutes when an altercation led to melee, with three red cards being issued.
When the game eventually got going again, Greenalls, understandably with a one-man advantage, looked likely to go on and win the game.
A couple of long throws from Harrison caused problems for the home defence and Lee Vaughan was a constant threat down the right.
He will feel he should have done better when he went on a superb run, taking on three players, but took one too many touches, when Hanley was well placed for a pass.
Hanley's chance did come though, in the 89th minute, as he brought down a through ball brilliantly on his left foot and beat the defender well, crashing a volley off the underside of the bar, and following up was James Worrall, who, stretching, could only divert his header onto the bar of the gaping goal, when it looked certain to go in.
On the balance of play, and particularly with the amount of chances created, Greenalls will feel they should have scored more goals and won the game, but the response was great.
Greenalls: Chris Kiernan, Adam Jones, Gareth Johns, Stephen Dowsett, Paul Dobson, Lee Vaughan, Lee Hughes, Mark Hughes, Ewan Rodger, Ben McWilliams, Chris Rogers. Subs used: Robbie Hanley, Phil Harrison, James Worrall.