An equaliser four minutes into injury-time robbed HUCKNALL TOWN of victory at Eastwood Community on Wednesday night -- after they had played an hour with ten men.
On the face of it, a 3-3 draw does not look the best of results against an Eastwood side bottom of the Central Midlands League, South Division table with only one point and four goals to their name in 13 previous games.
However, Town had midfielder Nathan Robinson harshly sent off in the 30th minute and had to withstand what they felt was an specifically physical game-plan by the home side in an intimidating atmosphere at Coronation Park. So they deserved credit for leading 3-2 and passing a real test of character until the last-gasp leveller.
It’s not long since Hucknall and Eastwood (under their former guise of Eastwood Town) were two of the giants of the Nottinghamshire non-league game. Notwithstanding the controversy, at least this action-packed thriller proved that the two flagship clubs are still alive and kicking.
After a feisty but goalless opening half-hour in a swirling wind, a nasty clash saw Robinson dismissed, even though it was he who appeared to be elbowed in the face. The referee cautioned him for flicking out a foot and then showed him red for allegedly spitting at an opponent when he said he was trying to get blood out of his mouth.
As Andy Graves’s team re-adjusted, Eastwood went ahead. But Town responded to lead 2-1 by the break, thanks to a shot on the turn by Adam Nelson that was deflected in and then a volley from inside the box by Ben Waplington.
In the second period, the home team drove home an equaliser past unsighted ‘keeper James Beddingham before the ten-man Yellows appeared to have won it with Nelson’s second goal -- a bullet header into the corner from a quality free-kick by Elliott Pitt.
TOWN LINE-UP (4-5-1) -- Beddingham/ Maxwell, Leak, Atkinson, Pitt/ Davidson, Robinson, Harding, Aikman, Waplington/ Nelson. SUBS: Abdullah (for Harding), Henry J. (for Maxwell), Rigg (for Waplington).