Abbey Hey 1 Barnoldswick Town 1

Barnoldswick Town ended their dismal run of Noth West Counties League Premier Division away defeats by securing a hard-earned point at Abbey Hey on Saturday.

New manager Stewart Airdrie was confronted by a familiar problem with seven players Harry Thompson, Kieran Lee, Chris Ridehalgh, Carl Ellerton, Shaun Airey, Joel Melia and Lyle Davy missing from the team he fielded in the previous match.

On the plus side he had Andy Lee back in the starting line up while new signing James Gill from Silsden was on the substitutes’ bench and Paul Drake deputised in goal for the injured Davy.

Despite the wet weather the pitch was in good condition but a strong wind made things tricky for the players.

Mark Threlfall shot wide, Lee had a curling effort go just off target and Matthew Cavanagh had a header saved by Jonathan McIlwaine.

Town continued to press and an Aaron Hollindrake cross found Samuel Howell on the edge of the penalty area but his shot was deflected for another corner. Cavanagh had two headers saved before Abbey Hey took the lead.

Their full back Liam Murray found himself free on the left and when his shot was blocked striker Sam Jones pounced to score.

With the wind at their backs Abbey began to press in the second half. Justin Pickering proved to be a real menace and forced Drake into a good save ten minutes into the half.

At the other end, Threlfall forced a fine save from McIlwaine before the dangerous Pickering beat three men before shooting over the bar from a really good position for Abbey Hey.

Town were rewarded with an equaliser after 65 minutes. Threlfall beat his full back and crossed along the six-yard box to Aaron Hollindrake who smashed a left-foot shot low into the bottom left-hand corner of McIlwaine’s net.

There was a let off for Town when Pickering’s curling shot hit a post and had to be scrambled to safety.

With nine out of their last 12 games at home, Town will be looking to climb the table. The first of those fixtures is against Bootle on Saturday.