Eccleshall 0 Cheadle Town 0
By Jim Tunney
Honours even at Pershall Park
With George Burslem suspended, Alex Russell injured and both Josh Graham and Alex Nwachukwu unavailable, Kyle Adams and Craig Bould had to ring the changes for the visit of Cheadle Town to Pershall Park. Luke Walsh returned to the starting line up along with David Neligwa and fit again skipper Harvey Collins. New signing Louis Mercieca was on the bench.
Cheadle started strongly and went close early on with a Matt German header. They made a number of moves forward forcing Collins into a couple of early tackles. On fifteen minutes, they came closest to scoring when firstly Rhys Clooney had a shot blocked on the line, Callum Knight followed up on the rebound with another blocked effort and then Connor Naughton brought a good save out of Eagles 'keeper Louis McCarthy. Eccleshall were slowly working their way into the game and on 27 minutes, were awarded a penalty when Tom Wakefield was brought down in the box. Luke Walsh took the spot kick but Town 'keeper Daniel Whiting dived across to his left to make a good save. Cheadle continued to look strong on the attack and Knight brought another good save out of McCarthy. At the other end, a Brad Carr raid down the left led to Neligwa firing wide of the post. Whiting then safely held a free kick from the left with both sides looking to find an opening for the first goal.
HT: Eccleshall 0 Cheadle Town 0
With the second half under way, Eccleshall netted on 56 minutes through Luke Walsh but it was disallowed for offside. The game was now more evenly balanced and on 65 minutes, a ball in from the left found Carr running through and his shot was wide of the post when a pass to Wakefield may have been the better option. Naughton then had a chance but fired over the bar. In another Eagles move, Izaak Walsh hit a 'daisy cutter' from 25 yards which almost deceived Whiting but went wide of the post. Mercieca was brought on for Neligwa and Carr went on another run into the box but his low cross went wide with no-one on hand to apply the finishing touch. Wakefield then won a corner and when it was headed clear, Luke Walsh volleyed over. In another Cheadle attack, McCarthy was forced to tip the ball over the bar. With time ticking away, Cheadle continued to press forward but, with two minutes of normal time left, they were reduced to ten men when referee Sephton sent Oliver Hatfield-Banton off for a blatant push in the back on Carr. Both players had confronted each other moments earlier. Both sides were pushing for the winner when Mr Sephton called time on proceedings.
FT: Eccleshall 0 Cheadle Town 0
This was a hard earned point with plenty of positives to come from the game, particularly the second clean sheet of the month. Eagles 'keeper McCarthy earned the opponents 'man of the match' nomination for his performance.
Eagles: McCarthy, Collins, Dunn, Benton, M Johnson, Griffiths, Neligwa (Mercieca), I Walsh, Wakefield, Carr, L Walsh.
Unused subs: Van der Laan, Wyatt, Baker-Haynes, B Johnson.
Referee: Mr Paul Sephton