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Lee Duxbury's men dig in for valuable point
Buy this photo » Austin Hart celebrates scoring for Eccleshill
Eccleshill United 1 Shirebrook Town 1
The Eagles had to show all of their qualities to earn a point from a difficult home game against a very good side on Saturday.
The home side broke the deadlock ten minutes after half-time but Shirebrook hit back late on and threatened to win the game.
There were some nervous moments but Eccleshill defended from the front when they lost the ball and held out.
The early chances were all created by the home side, Austin Hart ending a promising early move with a driven low shot from an angle.
Marcus Edwards hit a free-kick that went just over and there was another long-range set-piece from Ryan Jones.
However, just before the half-hour mark the visitors created their first opening and striker Aaron Moxam was denied when Eccleshill keeper Ryan Smith parried the shot for a corner.
Only a handful of chances for both sides followed as a tame first half drew to a close but Shirebrook came out with all guns blazing after the interval.
Eccleshill had to withstand a sustained period of pressure before responding themselves and breaking the deadlock.
It was created by a good, low ball driven into the area by Edwards and converted by Hart, who fired the ball in from close range.
Edwards could have made it 2-0 soon after that but, having out-muscled his marker, he shot wide with only the keeper to beat.
There was also controversy as the visitors had a strong penalty appeal waved away.
Shirebrook’s Moxam went down under a challenge from Eagles skipper Taylor Diem but, while the visiting supporters were baying for a penalty, the referee gave the infringement Diem’s way for shirt-pulling.
The Shirebrook players were incredulous and the sense of injustice galvanised them even more.
They put in a strong finish and substitute Danny Wiltshire ended a flowing move in the 72nd minute with a good finish under Smith.
Eagles head coach Lee Duxbury was happy to gain a point.
He said: “Shirebrook had a game-plan and were the better team. They put Danny Bacon, who is usually a forward, in front of their back four so that they could cope with our style of play.
“That means they have shown us a lot of respect and come to do a job.
“I can say they were the better side because you have to be honest in football but my players showed true character.
“For the first time this season I’m a happy man to be settling for a point.”
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