The walking wounded of HUCKNALL TOWN might have ended their unwanted sequence of five defeats on the bounce.
But they were hardly in a mood for celebrating after failing to beat a lowly Blidworth Welfare side reduced to ten men -- and then having defender Jamie Comery sent off themselves.
Blidworth visited Watnall Road last Saturday on the back of 12 defeats (and only two wins) in 16 Central Midlands League, South Division matches.
But they returned home with a rare point from a 1-1 draw after Town, ravaged by injuries, comforted themselves with the knowledge that at least they are far better off at this stage of the campaign than they were in 2012/13.
The Yellows also comforted themselves with the relief that they have a player of the class and attiutude of midfielder Mark Smith to call upon.
Smith was expected to be out injured until the New Year. But he bravely responded to help out his struggling side -- and before having to come off midway through the second half, he produced a quality display.
He also netted Town’s goal three minutes before the interval -- and only two minutes after Blidworth had pinched a surprise lead.
Smith received a pass from John Whetton, skipped past four players and neatly stroked the ball past the visiting ‘keeper.
The goal completed a frantic first half in which Town, fielding two or three fringe players, looked the more composed of the two sides.
But neither could force a save from the ‘keepers until Blidworth were gifted a goal to break the deadlock when left-back Comery, standing in for Tom Crisp, misplaced a clearance straight to striker Craig Gould, who sidefooted home from just six yards.
The second half was also played at a furious tempo -- and tempers frayed when a foul on man-of-the-match Cameron Davidson led to a melee erupting among players from both sides.
The referee stopped play when Davidson was surrounded by five Blidworth men with ‘handbags’ drawn. In the fallout, Comery received a yellow card, even though he was a calming influence, while an opponent received red.
With 11 against ten, Town were obvious favourites to go on and win. But the advantage lasted only a few minutes before Comery himself saw red for a second bookable offence that looked like a clean tackle.
Fans were doubly annoyed because, moments earlier, no action had been taken when Eugene Francis was hauled to the ground.
As injuries again took their toll, The Yellows introduced a couple of promising 17-year-olds in Mitchell Looker and Adam Gilliott.
And Gilliott almost became an instant hit when his shot flew agonisngly wide after a miscued effort from Nick Morgan.
However, Town had to be content with a share of the spoils and although it gets no easier for them this Saturday when they travel to high-flying Clifton All Whites in the league cup, at least they should have a much stronger squad to pick from the following weekend.