Audlem 2-2 Nantwich Pirates
Audlem Football Club dug in deep to earn a 2-2 draw at home to Nantwich Pirates on Sunday. After being under the cosh for long periods, the home side battled back and came from 0-2 down to earn a point in their Crewe Regional Sunday League Division One encounter.
Nantwich Pirates came into the game unbeaten in the league this season, and Audlem were off the back of a 9-0 defeat in their previous week. But with games in hand, the home side have performed better in the league than cup in recent weeks, and spirits were high before kick off.
A frantic start to the game was in the visitor's favour, with Audlem struggling to settle on ball and find any rhythm. Pirates were dictating play and stretching the home side back line. Within the first 15 minutes, Connor Baxter had made three excellent saves in the Audlem goal. The play continued to flow in one direction, with chances coming and going, and more clinical finishing would have had the visitors in front.
When Audlem got the ball down, they were creating, with half chances coming for Nick Gregory and Ben Walker, but generally it was against the run off play.
Pirates got the breakthrough they deserved on 38 minutes. After the ball was lost in midfield, the midfielder rode a couple of tackles before seeing his shot from distance well saved, and the rebound put in. 0-1.
The visitors should have doubled their lead on the stroke of half time when a bullet header from a corner was wonderfully tipped over by Connor Baxter.
Half time: Audlem 0-1 Nantwich Pirates
A few choice words at half time, but Audlem continued to struggle into the second half. Chances again came and went for the visitors, but the pressure told just after the hour mark. After a good move, their shot on target hit Dan Rooney on the arm and a penalty was awarded. A well taken strike looked to have put the game to bed 0-2.
Changes were made, with Fab Twardon and coming on, Cam Rodgers moving into midfield and Nick Gregory moving further forward. As the visitors took their foot off the gas, Audlem dug in and rallied, battling their way back into the game. Cam started getting the better of things in midfield, and the tide shifted.
On 75 minutes Fab played the ball into Nick Gregory who saw his superbly saved, but Ben Walker following up put in the rebound first time. 1-2 and game on.
For the first time the visitors were rocking and Audlem went forward with more swagger, and just five minutes later the equaliser came. After winning a free kick, Josh Dennis' superb ball in was met by Nick Gregory to slot home at the back post. 2-2
Pirates were stunned, and indeed it was Audlem who continued on top until the end. A long ball over the top looked to be handled by the centre half when he missed his header as the last defender, but the referee gave nothing. Another chance to take all the points never came and the points were shared.
Full time: Audlem 2-2 Nantwich Pirates
An excellent point for the home side who had dug in and battled until the end. Hopefully it gives Audlem the confidence to push on this season, as when they play well they are capable of beating anyone in this league. Audlem stay 5th, with games in hand.
Off to the White Lion at Hankelow after the game, who have generously signed up to be our latest sponsor -- huge thank you to them.
Audlem's next fixtures are