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Causeway United 1 Stourport Swifts 1
10:51pm Wednesday 2nd January 2013 in Football
A CALAMITOUS own goal by Matt Williams handed Causeway United a point against Stourport Swifts.
The visitors looked on course for victory when substitute Dan Polan fired them ahead with just under 20 minutes remaining.
But Causeway drew level when keeper Dan Platt’s clearance cannoned off Williams and into the empty net.
The hosts then came close to winning it at the death, with Chris Seekings having a shot deflected just wide.
There were also a number of scrambled clearances and dangerous crosses which just failed to find their target, as the hosts laid siege to the visiting goal.
In the end they were forced to settle for a well-earned point, though boss Richard Colwell will perhaps feel they should have got all three after a spirited display against the Midland Alliance’s second place team.
For some months Causeway’s own lowly position has been branded false but sooner or later they must start picking up points. More performances like this will help, though it arrived admittedly after a very shaky opening 20 minutes which the visitors dominated.
No sooner had home keeper Tom Turner been called into action to tip over a mis-hit Tim Jackson cross then he was saving smartly from former Stourbridge striker John Griffin.
Beanpole defender Mark Smith then should have hit the target with a free header after Ryan Mahon’s corner had been flicked on, before Griffin was again denied, this time by the post following an elaborate move which included an acrobatic final ball from Lewis Pountney.
Causeway defender Darren Whitley also sliced a clearance just over his own bar but the seemingly inevitable Stourport goal never arrived. Instead it was Causeway who were next left holding their heads when Stuart How’s header from Carl Martin’s inswinging cross came back off the upright, in the home side’s first real attack of the game.
The near miss did at least build confidence and Martin was just off target with a curling effort from the edge of the box, while one of his numerous dangerous centres was almost accidentally converted by visiting defender Mark Benbow.
Now it was Stourport who looked uneasy and a botched clearance allowed Chris Seekings to set up How, whose shot was well saved by Platt.
The visitors began the second half just as they had the first and Griffin just failed to make clean contact with a through ball from ten yards out within two minutes of the restart.
Courtney Pitt was also just off target with two long range efforts, the second a free-kick, while Smith was denied by a fine save from Turner.
But just as they had in the first half, Causeway began to settle. Tom Turton had Platt scrambling for a speculative long range attempt, while Williams did well to clear a cross from the constant nuisance Martin with Craig Gregg lurking before two substitutes combined to break the deadlock.
Polan and Aaron Bannister had been on the pitch a matter of minutes when the former completed a fine team move by deftly flicking the former’s low centre out of Turner’s reach and into the far bottom corner.
After then it was difficult to tell whether Causeway upped their game or Stourport took their foot off the gas. Either way, the visitors seemed ill prepared to the hosts rousing reaction at going behind.
With Swifts intent on playing a high defensive line, Causeway had already enjoyed significant success with the ball over the top and it was one of these which created the equaliser.
Under pressure from an onrushing Seekings, Platt blasted his clearance low and straight at the backtracking Williams, who could only stand and watch as the ball rebounded and rolled along the ground into the net under the watchful eye of the Causeway man.
If anyone was going to win it from then on it was Causeway but too often the final ball was misplaced or the wrong option chosen. Seekings came closest to snatching a winner when the ball fell kindly to him ten yards out but his low drive was deflected wide.
CAUSEWAY: Turner, Pritchard (Lloyd 78), Martin, Meacham, Whitley, Poole, Stevenson, Turton, Gregg, How (Devlin 87), Seekings Subs not used: Field, Beasley, Priest.
Goal: Williams og 79.
SWIFTS: Platt, Jones (Bannister 65), Willets, Williams, Benbow, Smith, Mahon, Walker (Pitt 33), Pountney, Griffin (Polan 65), Jackson Subs not used: Evans, Hurrell.
Goal: Polan 71.