The Saints drew their second game of the season against Cheadle Heath Nomads thanks to a late Karl Bailey strike that saved them from defeat.
The Saints went into the game resorting the team that had beaten New Mills in our last league game before our break in league action.
The Saints started in dominant fashion and where the team in possession, against Cheadle who sat deep trying to contain the Saints, and did a good job of it in the early stages. The first chance came on 8 minutes when a cross from the left found a diving Brendon price at the near post and his header was tipped around the post by the keeper.
On 12 minutes, the Saints had the ball in the back of the net, but the linesman ruled Karl Bailey’s ‘goal’ out for offside. A look back on the game video shows that Karl was onside, so just one of those things that didn’t go our way.
On 21 minutes, Bailey was the focal point for the Saints again, Easthope feeding him but Karl dragged his shot wide from 18 yards.
Cheadle offered very little in the way of attacking threat, on 24 they had an effort but was fired over by the forward. The game was happening in between both boxes, in a good competitive game but neither keeper being overly worked. On 32 minutes, out of nothing, Cheadle took the lead. A high ball on the edge of the box was allowed to bounce by Dickin, who was the pressured by the forward and he managed to clear to Yuille, who was 40 yards out and struck a great shot, not quite a half volley but the ball was slighting bouncing, and it flew over Austin and into the net. In his attempt to save the ball, Austin dislocated his little finger and good work from the St. Martins staff meant it was popped back in and he continued to play.
On half time, the Saints had the ball in the net again, this time Bailey turned provider for Price but he was flagged offside. Again the replay showed up the linesman, and the Saints where wrongly denied for a second time.
Cheadle almost doubled their lead not long after, a corner wasn’t cleared, a shot was blocked on the line by Price, then the follow up effort was tipped onto the bar by Austin and to safety.
Half time 1-1
The second half started with The Saints in control again and there should of been an equaliser on 51 minutes. A great break with pace and incision saw Melusi drive and release Easthope on the left hand side of the box and he drove towards the keeper, he choose to try pull back for Bailey or Melusi in the box and it was cleared. I think if it was on his stronger foot, he would of shot and scored without a doubt. It wasn’t looking like it was our day.
The Saints where well on top, Cheadle where tiring from the big pitch, a couple of mistimed tackled where resulting in bookings and dangerous free kicks but the Saints really wasted some good opportunities with Hands and Dickin both firing into the wall. A change from the managing brought Davies into the game and a change of shape and Davies looked to continue his recent good form. With 15 remaining, The Saints had a the most blatant penalty you will see all season turned down. Davies looking to run into a ball in the box was brought down, instantly the referee dismissed the claims. Unbelieveable. If he had spoke to his assistant, it would of been given without doubt. Terrible decision. (Though the referee on the whole had a very good game).
With two minutes remaining, The Saints where level! Hands volleyed pass in the centre of the pitch deflected into the path of Price, he fed Melusi who drove into the box, he drew two defenders towards him and squared the ball to the unmarked Bailey who doesn’t miss from there. .
The game finished all square, there was not much quality on show in all fairness, but loads of effort. Cheadle will feel like they dropped two points due to the timing of the goal, but with the bad decisions and balance of play, The Saints will feel a tinge of disappointment also, so a draw was probably about right for both teams. A good set of people from Cheadle, we enjoyed their visit and look forward to the return leg!