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Sam Howell's last-minute penalty is a point saver for Barnoldswick Town
Barnoldswick Town 1 Alsager Town 1
Town fielded their seventh goalkeeper of the season when Christopher Taylor took over between the sticks for Saturday’s Premier Division clash.
The return of a chill wind and the attraction of Burnley’s home game with Leeds United meant the attendance at the Silentnight Stadium was down on normal.
Those spectators that were present saw Barlick make another slow start. Alsager made all the early running and Steve Hughes put his shot just over the bar after six minutes when Ryan Connor found him in space from a free kick.
Taylor was brought into action five minutes later saving a Josh Lane shot with his feet at the near post.
Town’s first attempt at goal was a Mark Threlfall shot but it had no power and Steve Dryden saved easily.
Town went close after 17 minutes when a cross from the Alsager left found Sam Howell just outside the corner of the six yard. He hit the ball first time but Connor cleared the goal bound shot for a corner.
Alsager kept coming forward and their skipper Peter Heler curled a shot from outside the penalty area just wide.
At the other end Threlfall did well to pull the ball back into the path of Harry Thompson but his final shot flew inches over Dryden’s crossbar.
Threlfall threatened again after 32 minutes, working his way into the penalty area on the left, he screwed his shot across goal and just wide of the far post.
Alsager came out in the second half determined to take the game to Barnoldswick. Lane forced Taylor into a good save.
Town had to make a substitution just before the hour mark, Threlfall pulling up with a thigh problem Kieran Lee coming on to replace him.
Alsager broke the deadlock three minutes later when the Town defence failed to clear. The ball was quickly played across the face of the goal and Chris Smith was unmarked as he beat Taylor inside the far post.
Town seemed to wake up and, a Howell shot was blocked with Aaron Hollindrake unable to reach the rebound.
Dryden was forced to parry a Bill Williams free kick in the 71st minute with Phil Parkinson clearing.
At the other end, Taylor had to make a save from Hughes.
Town made their last substitution with ten minutes left, Stewart Airdrie replacing Carl Ellerton.
Nothing was really happening as Town pressed forward for an equaliser until they were awarded a penalty with two minutes left.
A free kick taken out wide on the Alsager right was delivered deep into a crowded penalty area where, Jordan Elcock was adjudged to have pulled a Town player back.
Referee Colin Whittaker consulted a linesman and booked Elcock before Sam Howell stepped up and placed the ball low down to Dryden’s right for the equaliser.
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