Plucky Ollerton Town emerged with immense credit, despite a 2-0 defeat at home to top-of-the-table Knaresborough Town in the Toolstation Northern Counties East League.
The Yorkshire visitors hold an eight-point lead in the First Division, having suffered only two defeats, and controlled large portions of the game. But they were left hanging after a late onslaught by mid-table Ollerton, who might have snatched a point had they been more clinical.
The game was played at a high tempo from the first whistle with both sides having chances early on. Knaresborough were especially threatening on the wings, but Ollerton had some success from long balls, one of which resulted in a lobbed effort from Lewis Bingham sailing over the bar.
As the first half went on, the visitors really started to assert, and they took the lead in the 27th minute. Brad Walker’s shot was well saved by ‘keeper Joey McCormack, but Steve Bromley was the first to react to the rebound.
For the rest of the game, Knaresborough were more cautious and combative, but proved themselves to be a well-organised defensive unit while working well on the counter, and they doubled their lead five minutes into the second half. The goal was scored by Rob Youhill, who was lucky to retain the ball as it took multiple deflections while he was dribbling through, but he made no mistake with his finish, calmly slotting past McCormack.
The game looked to be slipping away from Ollerton, but after changes and a switch from a 4-3-3 formation to 3-5-2, with three strikers and no discernible defensive midfielder, they started to take the game to Knaresborough.
Looking far more threatening, they might have had a penalty when Sean Dickinson was taken out recklessly by Dan Clayton, and as they continued to press forward, substitute Tristan Burrell was denied by a defender’s block after going by the ‘keeper, Jack Rushworth.
Ollerton had their most clearcut chance of the game when Burrell floated a ball to the back post, where Dickinson headed what looked to be a certain goal, only to be foiled by a miraculous save from Rushworth.
Knaresborough were showing defensive vulnerabilities, but the hosts wasted another gilt-edged opportunity as Kyle Ludlow whipped a ball in from the left and Burrell failed to convert from close range.