St Neots Town shared the Southern League Premier Division spoils in a match of two goals, two dismissals and an ugly flashpoint in stoppage time.
Matt Clements’ men drew 1-1 at Coalville Town yesterday when returning to a venue where they collected a memorable FA Cup success earlier in the season.
The Saints boss was pleased with the performance of his players even though they saw Dion Sembie-Ferris’ opener cancelled out by an equaliser nine minutes from time, but he was far less enamoured with the display of the officials.
Clements felt the dismissal of defender Johnny Herd, for picking up two second-half bookings, was particularly harsh with Coalville’s leveller arriving only three minutes after his exit.
“It goes down as a good point for me even though we were disappointed to concede a late goal after somehow finding ourselves down to 10 men,” said Clements.
“We were disciplined, gritty and very good off the ball, but we probably should have been more than one goal ahead in all honesty.
“But we felt we were harshly dealt with by the referee and that definitely contributed to Coalville getting their equaliser.
“A draw is the very least we deserved on a day when we could arguably have got more.”
A last-ditch tackle from Devante Stanley prevented Coalville man Kairo Mitchell from giving the hosts an early lead.
Matty Miles was the first Saints man to threaten with his snap-shot eventually being grabbed at the second attempt by Coalville goalkeeper Rudy Soloha.
That effort was the cue for Clements’ side to dominate much of the opening half and they hit the front in the 25th minute when Dion Sembie-Ferris tucked away a Herd long throw with a smart volley which benefitted from a kind kiss off the inside of the far post.
Sembie-Ferris then saw a strong penalty appeal ignored as referee Jamie O’Connor upset the Saints camp for the first time before Coalville man Joe Doyle-Charles fluffed a glorious chance on the stroke of the interval.
That big let-off should have served as a warning for Saints with the home side then looking much more dangerous in the second half as Mitchell fired against a post.
Another fine Stanley challenge denied the same Coalville man another clear sight of goal before Herd was dismissed.
The left-back collected a second caution for a foul after picking up a first booking for kicking the ball away a quarter of an hour earlier.
And Saints were pegged back just three minutes after finding themselves at a numerical disadvantage as Mitchell headed Coalville level.
The hosts also found themselves down to 10 men as Towers collected his second caution in the stoppage-time skirmish for which three other players were also booked.
One of those was Saints captain Luke Knight who was actually shown a red card in error by referee O’Connor before it was immediately rescinded!
Saints are back in action on Tuesday night when they host Tamworth in a league clash, 7.45pm.
It provides a return to the Premier Plus Stadium for former Saints chief Dennis Greene, who guided the club to two promotions during his time in charge.
He was appointed as Tamworth manager in September.