Thompson double saves Barnoldswick

Craven Herald: Mark Threlfall takes on a defender Mark Threlfall takes on a defender

Barnoldswick Town 2 Wigan Robin Park 2

Town twice had to come from behind to salvage a draw against the North West Counties League Premier Division’s bottom team at the Silentnight Stadium on Saturday.

Two second-half goals from Harry Thompson spared the home side from a second defeat against the relegation strugglers this season.

Perhaps buoyed by their earlier 3-2 win at home when the sides last met, Robin Park again posed problems for a Town side deprived of the services of striker Aaron Hollindrake, Kieran Fletcher and Chris Ridehalgh.

The first danger to either goal came at the Town end. Keeper Lyle Davy miscued a clearance straight to Wigan skipper Craig Haynes but his hurried attempt at the vacant goal flew way off target.

At the other end Mark Threlfall was just beaten to the ball by defender Brian Hatton as he attempted to get onto an inviting cross from Kieran Lee.

Connor Smith went close to giving Town the lead after 15 minutes when his cheeky back-heel went just wide after Bill Williams had headed goalwards from a corner.

The first goal came after 25 minutes and it was the first time either side had strung any sort of passing movement together.

Wigan’s striker Dean Midgely latched onto the ball just outside the Town penalty area and sent a blistering right-foot shot past the flailing left hand of Davy.

A minute later and it should probably have been 2-0. Midgley found a lot of space in the Town penalty area but put his header wide from a Kyle Hynes cross.

Town’s best chance of the half came when Lee picked the ball up out wide on the Wigan left. He ran just inside the corner of the Wigan penalty area and saw Lever dive full length to save his shot at the foot of the post.

At the start of the second half Town tried hard to get back on level terms, Good work by Threlfall enabled Thompson to get in a goal-bound shot which was blocked Bowes-Broadfoot with his body.

Thompson was prominent again on the hour. He won the ball on the halfway line and threaded a pass through to Lee whose cross to the far post was headed back into the path of Connor Smith by Threlfall, but from six yards out he missed the ball.

Town did manage an equaliser after 66 minutes and it came with a slice of luck. Thompson let fly from outside the Wigan penalty area and Lever fumbled the ball over his shoulder into the net for an unlikely goal.

This didn’t deter Wigan as they restored their lead a minute later. Midgley scoring an even better goal than his first with a left-foot shot that screamed into the top corner.

Town replaced Smith with Joel Melia after 67 minutes and new signing Ben Lloyd took over from Anthony Pollard with 15 minutes to play.

As the match moved into injury time the Wigan defence finally cracked under pressure.

Lee’s low cross saw Threlfall, Lever and a Wigan player all go for the ball before it fell to Thompson who smashed home the equaliser three minutes into stoppage time.

There was more drama to come. Melia broke clear six minutes into injury time and Christopher Morris, Wigan’s best player, brought him down. It earned him a red card.

There was still time for one last Town assault on the Wigan goal, Melia hooking the ball goalwards but it drifted inches past the far post.

With no game on Saturday, Town will be hoping their injured players will be fit for the trip to Ashton Athletic on December 14.

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