Frickley Athletic had to settle for a point for the second game running when they hosted Ashton United at the SW Jackson Utilities Stadium on Tuesday evening.
The Evo-Stik Premier League contest ended in a goalless draw, although both sides came close to snatching a winner in the second half.
Ashton were looking to help their play-off push, coming into the game in good form with just one defeat in six matches. But they rarely threatened in an uninspiring first half before Frickley came mighty close to taking the lead nine minutes into the second period when Tom Davie’s shot rattled the crossbar.
Ashton did go close in the 80th minute when Steve Jeff was forced to hook the ball off his own line, but the Blues were to feel the more aggrieved at only taking a point as they struck the woodwork a second time, Jameel Ible’s shot hitting the post in stoppage time.
Frickley: Malkowski, Davie, Jeff, Hinsley, Cyrus, Ible, Armstrong (Akeroyd 51), Gooda, Hazel, Grayson, Williams.
A weakened Frickley Athletic side earned a creditable draw at fifth-placed Stourbridge courtesy of Luke Hinsley’s 25th minute strike in Saturday’s Evo-Stik Premier game.
The Blues were without the services of the suspended Tom Davie (for his sending off at Blyth Spartans) and the injured Brad Grayson and Chris Wood while coach Jon Hood started his touchline ban. However, Macaulay Parkinson returned to the side as manager Karl Rose changed the formation with John Cyrus, Jameel Ible and Bailey Gooda playing as three at the back. Luke Hinsley moved up front in place of Grayson.
In front of a large crowd the home side started positively, exposing the lack of familiarity in the Blues’ line up. Chris Lait was a thorn in Parkinson’s side for most of the game and the left winger got past him in the tenth minute before seeing Sebastian Malkowski tip away his angled shot.
Stuart Pierpoint headed a left wing cross just wide on 23 minutes for Stourbridge before the Blues took the lead with their first real chance of the game two minutes later.
After weathering the early pressure a great pass from Steven Jeff found Hinsley in space inside the box and he fended off pressure from the home defence to turn and steer a low shot past Matthew Gould from eight yards.
Lait got free again down the Stourbridge left on 28 minutes, again forcing Malkowski to save from his angled drive and the same was repeated again three minutes before the break.
The home side equalised less than 30 seconds into the second half as Karl Hawley was given space to turn and fire the ball past Malkowski into the far corner from 15 yards.
Jacob Hazel put a 20-yard free-kick over for the Blues on 64 minutes, but Malkowski was called on to save a low 25-yard shot from Sean Geddes on 70 minutes.
A great double save from Malkowski saw him push away a goalbound header from Pierpoint before recovering to acrobatically deny Hawley from close range.
The Blues started to threaten in the closing minutes with Hazel almost sending Tyler Williams clear on 89 minutes, but the covering defender did enough to prevent him from getting in a shot from inside the box.
Seconds a handball by Kristian Green was ignored by the referee, allowing Stourbridge to break, but Malkowski denied substitute Ashley Vincent.
Frickley came agonisingly close to snatching all three points in the fifth minute of stoppage time when the ball fell kindly for Hazel to burst between two defenders into the box, but Gould was off his line quickly to block Hazel’s shot from 12 yards.
Frickley: Malkowski, Parkinson, Jeff, Akeroyd, Cyrus, Ible, Armstrong, Gooda, Hazel, Hinsley, Williams.