Shirebrook Town get no joy from Emley stalemate

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A 90th-minute penalty from Kieron Watson salvaged a point for Shirebrook Town in a 1-1 draw at home to ten-man AFC Emley.

Watson’s calmly taken 24th goal of the season cancelled out Max Leonard’s 65th-minute opener for the visitors on Saturday.

But, with both teams in the hunt for three points to help their slim promotion hopes, one did neither side any favours.

A goalless first half devoid of much quality meant Shirebrook’s keeper, Dale Sheppard, was rarely threatened by Emley.

Liam Morris and Andre Johnson both found the Emley centre-half pairing equally as stubborn and were restricted to little space.

Morris was the closest to breaking the deadlock in the opening 45 minutes but his goalbound header was cleared off the line.

Shirebrook found an extra gear after the break; Connor Smythe and Matty Sykes combined to slip Johnson free to shoot wide.

The hosts fell behind when they failed to clear the ball twice and Leonard pounced with speed and a sweet solo strike.

Adam Shepherd and Johnson were replaced by Jamie York and Watson as Shirebrook threw everything at Emley in the last 20 minutes.

Morris looked to have equalised for the hosts when he headed downwards only for the opposing ‘keeper to pull off a fine save.

Watson and York played their part in trying to claw their way back, Sykes hit a stinging drive before their pressure was rewarded.

Morris raced through and had his run halted illegally in the area by an Emley defender who was shown a second yellow and then a red.

Watson composed himself and scored from the spot to draw Shirebrook level. Neither side could make the most of four minutes of injury time.