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Frustration again as Eastenders are pegged back


NOT FOR the first time this season Easington United were left counting the cost of an inability to retain a lead when conceding a late equaliser away at St Mary’s.

Jack Clement forced the ball home with the last kick of the game to earn a deserved point for his team after Chris Frost’s 58th minute goal had seemingly set The Eastenders on the way to a fourth league win.

In the absence of manager Danny Blount, assistant-boss Craig Foster acknowledged that although conceding so late was hard to take, the locals hadn’t done enough to earn all three points. He also refused to use the recent lay-off as mitigation.

The Eastenders’ cause wasn’t helped by late drop-outs, among them player/manager Danny Blount. With James Blount, Ash Snaith, Ben Wilbraham, Dan Warcup and Sam Huteson all absent, and both Darrell Thompson and Paul Wilkinson also among the late withdrawals, it meant assistant-boss Craig Foster was named among the three subs on show.

Meanwhile, the starting eleven included Sam McLaughlin who lined up alongside Andy Graham at the heart of the back four. He would mark his return with a typically assured performance – and a late yellow card!

A “very poor” first half saw chances at a premium. On 12 minutes Owen Mountain seized on a poor back-pass but the keeper diverted his effort behind. It would be the last real sight of goal the locals had all half!

At the other end St Mary’s enjoyed a couple in quick succession. Cam Walker’s header was easily saved on 26 minutes before a deflected shot looped up and onto the top of the bar. On the half-hour, Steve Janney came to the locals’ rescue when saving well from Harley Ward.

In the second half it was the locals who carved out the better early chances.

Just a minute in, Frost was sent clear but steered his shot wide from twelve yards. On 54 minutes, Mountain’s cross picked out Paul Morrill who cut in before unleashing a left foot shot that was well saved by keeper Piercy at the second attempt.

Two minutes later, Janney picked up a booking for taking out Walker just outside the area. The resulting free-kick came to nothing.

Just before the hour, Easington broke the deadlock; Adam Jamieson picking out Frost who tucked the ball under Piercy.

Moments later Smalley’s cross found Barnett, but he couldn’t divert it on target. On 62 minutes Ben Bradshaw blazed over from close range when he really should have levelled matters.

Morrill fired wide from a Havercroft knockback before McLaughlin earned a yellow card for kicking the ball away. The locals were desperate for a decisive second goal, but Mountain’s shot flew wide on 78 minutes and a minute later so did Frost’s effort – agonisingly so after he’d seized on another poor back-pass and slipped the ball between Piercy’s legs.

With the clock showing three minutes into stoppage-time, the hosts scored the equaliser that their overall efforts perhaps merited. Having been denied by Janney’s fine save from his initial header, Clement slotted home the rebound to secure a point.

Easington: Steve Janney, Craig Smalley, Luke Jeffery, Kris Fitzpatrick, Sam McLaughlin, Andy Graham, Owen Mountain, Adam Jamieson (Craig Havercroft, 63), Paul Morrill, Chris Frost, Anthony Barnett (subs not used: Steve Jamieson, Craig Foster)

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