Late equaliser denies Hucknall Town top spot

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Heartbroken HUCKNALL TOWN were seconds away from shooting to the top of the Central Midlands League, South Division table on Bank Holiday Monday.

Entertaining the early-season leaders, Belper United, at Watnall Road, Town snatched a 2-1 lead in the 89th minute.

But, unbelievably, they allowed Shaun Raulston to net an equaliser for Belper SIX minutes into injury-time from a badly-defended corner.

The Yellows’ despair was obvious. But at least the match provided more evidence that Andy Graves’s side are heading for a much improved season.

Buoyed by their 5-1 thrashing of local rivals, Hucknall Rolls Leisure, 48 hours earlier, Town took thelead in the tenth minute when a powerful shot by new midfielder Matt Clowes found the net after a corner.

In horrible weather, the match offered little for the next hour. Town struggled to build on their lead, while Belper failed to trouble goalkeeper James Beddingham at all.

In fact, the visitors’ first shot at goal resulted in their 69th minute equaliser. Nick Morgan got the wrong side of his man and tripped him for a soft penalty that Luke Crosby dispatched.

The goal livened up Town, as did the introduction of substitutes Cameron Davidson, who added bite to the midfield, plus new signings Toby Birch and Ayokunlle Abbis, who injected more pace.

A free-kick by Nathan Robinson was headed just wide by centre-back Dave Leak. But when man-of-the-match Robinson delivered his next set-piece -- a well-flighted corner -- Aaron Evans was on hand to head home.

The Yellows could even have netted a clinching third goal when Abbis went on a jinking run to fire in a shot that the ‘keeper did well to push away But then came Belper’s killer blow.

Said a frustrated Graves:. “This should have been a win as comfortable, if not as exciting, as the one at Rolls. But individual errors cost us.”