Stockport Town were held in a 2-2 stalemate against Holker Old Boys at Stockport Sports Village last Saturday afternoon.
Both sides, expecting good seasons in the Hallmark Security League - Division One, went toe to toe with each other and both sides will feel they could have stolen all three points late on.
Goals from Liam Bennion and Nathan Neequaye saw the Lions take the lead twice but Holker replied through David Swarbrick and John Paul Stanway to see both sides share the points.
The match got off to flyer with Town midfielder Sam Scott appealing for a penalty in the first minute as it appeared his shirt was being held back inside the Holker penalty area, but the referee took no interest.
George Blackwell had a glorious chance to open the scoring just eight minutes in. Playing in from the right the Town winger found himself in the area, rounding Holker keeper, Jaraslow Bitner, however his shot struck the side netting.
Jamie Pattinson then went close for the visitors but Lions keeper, Daniel Whiting, did well to save down low and the home side were able to clear the danger.
Blackwell went close again midway through the half, this time from a freekick. Just 20-yards out his left-footed shot beat the wall but once again found the side netting, with some home supporters cheering, thinking it had gone in.
The hosts did eventually take the lead with 38 minutes on the clock through Bennion. The centre-back made a marauding run forward playing a one-two with both Blackwell and Andy Graham before bursting into the area and drilling his shot under Bitner into the near corner.
Just before the break Holker captain Philip Coombe went close to an equaliser but missed the target as he dragged his shot wide of Whiting’s goal.
Following the restart Holker began to put more pressure on the Town defence and it paid off just seven minutes into the second half. Swarbrick capitalised on gifted space and drove straight through the centre of the Lions’ midfield and defence before rounding Whiting and stroking home.
The home side were fortunate not to fall behind 10 minutes later as Kiarno Samms produced a goal-saving tackle to halt Swarbrick’s certain tap-in following a cross from Christopher Wraighte.
Ruben Abreu then went close for Stockport following good work down the left channel, cutting in from the wing onto his right foot before striking a fizzing shot at Bitner’s goal but the goalkeeper did well to push it wide for a corner.
With just under 15 minutes left in the game Town were back in front, this time through Neequaye. The striker was played through on goal by Adam Latham before reacting quickly to strike past the on-rushing Bitner and into the far corner.
However that lead only last two minutes after Holker immediately went on the charge, once again down the right wing. Wraighte once again was able to cross into the Town box and Stanway was on the spot to fire home and bring the scores level once again.
Entering the final stages of the match both sides were comfortable to hit on the counter attack and Latham came close to stealing a winner for Stockport as Abreu’s cross to the near-post was directed goal-bound by Latham but Bitner was well placed to save low with his feet.
If that wasn't close enough for the home side, Neequaye could have grabbed a second and the winner in the 90th minute. Following yet another Abreu cross the Town striker opted for his foot rather than his head as he missed the ball with an open goal at the far post.
Into the last seconds of the game and with Stockport defending in their own area, Holker midfielder Kevin Watkin forced Whiting into a diving save to prevent a late winner for the visitors as the referee soon blew his final whistle.
Given the chances throughout the 90 minutes both sides will have felt they could have sneaked a winner but Holker will be the happier side as they departed from SSV with a valuable away point.
Next up for the Lions is a midweek away trip to Ashton Town on Tuesday evening, kick-off 7:45pm.