The Saints visited league leaders Maidenhead United and brought back a well-earned point despite ending the game with just nine players after both Ben Martin and Junior Morias were shown red cards late in an eventful second half.
The Saints started the game brightly with some slick passing moves but were unable to create any clear cut chances for Junior or Louie. After 20 minutes, the home team began to create their own chances but the Saints’ defence held firm and the score remained goalless at half-time.
Two minutes following the re-start, Maidenhead thought they were in front but Sean Marks’ goal was ruled out for off-side. The Saints also began to create their own chances and only a last ditch tackle by Inman prevented Louie Theophanous from opening the scoring. However, in the 62nd minute, a rare defensive lapse by the Saints allowed the league’s top scorer, Dave Tarpey, to break into the area and pass to Harry Pritchard who hit the ball past James Russell to give Maidenhead a 1-0 lead.
The goal resulted in the Saints grabbing back the initiative and, together with the introduction of Shaun Lucien and Sam Merson, began to cause plenty of problems for the Maidenhead defenders. In the 80 minute, the Saints were awarded a free kick just outside of the opposition’s penalty area following a poor tackle on Junior Morias. Shaun Lucien took the kick and curled a delightful shot into the top corner to bring the scores level.
The Saints were now in the ascendancy and looked the more likely side to win the game. But in the 83rd minute, Ben Martin was shown a second yellow and then a red card following a late tackle on Christian Smith. The game continued to flow and the Saints still look dangerous on the attack until, in the 88th minute, the referee decided – to the surprise of everyone in the ground – to give a second yellow card to Junior Morias and sent him off.
Down to nine players, the Saints put up a dogged defence and held on for the remainder of the match, including an additional 5 minutes of injury time, to get a deserved draw that leaves the Saints in 3rd place.
Referee: Savvas Yianni (Weston-super-Mare)
Photos courtesy of Leigh Page