Late Hardy strike gives Frickley Athletic first away point at Stafford Rangers

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Thirteen proved to be anything but unlucky for Frickley Athletic as the Blues ended a run of 12 consecutive league defeats with a dramatic point at Stafford Rangers.

Liam Hardy struck a late, late leveller to give Karl Rose’s men a long-awaited first point on their travels this season in a dramatic Evo-Stik Premier League match on Saturday.

The South Elmsall side had to do it without top-scorer Gavin Allott, who was out injured and replaced by Chris Wood, while Luke Jeffs came in for the ill Joe Wilcox and Micah Bleau started in centre defence in place of the injured Gareth Clayton.

Rangers came flying out of the traps and had the ball in the back of the net inside a minute through Karl Ashton only to see the linesman’s flag raised for offside.

The hosts continued to pressure and their reward came in the 14th minute when Christian Dacres headed in a high cross at the far post.

Frickley came close to finding an equaliser eight minutes later when skipper Matty Bloor saw a 20-yard effort skim the top of the bar.

Stafford continued to carve out the best of the opportunities, however, and after Dacres went close Fabrice Kasiama fired a low effort from the edge of the box that squeezed in the bottom corner to double their lead.

It left Frickley with it all to do - not for the first time on their this term - and the Blues were without their captain ten minutes into the second half when Bloor saw red for a foul on Stafford’s Jimmy Turner, who was also dismissed for retaliating. A mass confrontation followed with assistant manager James Dudgeon sent from the Blues dugout for his part in the altercations.

If anything, the dismissals suited Frickley more than their hosts and they found a way back into the game on the hour mark when Wood reduced the arrears with a shot on the turn.

Twelve minutes later the scores were level as Jake Picton directed a Luke Jeffs cross into the back of the net.

Stafford were not done and, after Frickley goalkeeper Jamie Green superbly denied Kodsiama, the hosts regained their lead with just three minutes left through Luke George.

The Blues were not to be denied a battling point, however, and five minutes into stoppage time Hardy powered a Jeffs free-kick into the back of the net.

Stafford: Adam Alcock, Jimmy Turner, Ryan Brown, Luke George, James Bolton, Christian Dacres (Ivan Davies 83), Peter Heler, Lee Downes, Karl Ashton, Danny Quinn (Michael Carr 62), Fabrice Kasiama (Sam Kinsella 90). Unused subs: Levi Reid, Alex Curtis.

Frickley: Jamie Green, Luke Jeffs, Chris Fisher, Jake Picton, Micah Bleau, Patrece Liburd, Terry Barwick, Matty Bloor, Luke Hinsley (Chris Howarth 81), Chris Wood (Liam Hardy 83), Jimmy Ghaichem (David Buck 50). Unused subs: Jason Yates, Zack Levers.

Referee: Mr Dunitru-Ravel Cheosiaua.

Attendance: 398.