AFC Liverpool has to settle for a point despite having a numerical advantage over 10-man Hanley Town for most of the game.
The Reds struck early in the game as Emini Adegbenro intercepted a defensive pass outside the area in the third minute. He raced clear and put a clinical finish past Dane Jackson in the Hanley goal.
The Potteries side struck back ten minutes later when an Angelo Errico shot from twenty-five yards was only parried by Reds keeper Dominic Garner, and Tom Ashton put the ball back into the danger area allowing Daniel Cope to equalise.
Kieron Brislen restored AFC’s lead on twenty minutes, as the vice-captain let fly with a looping shot over Jackson from outside the area.
The Reds found themselves on the receiving end of some tough tackling from the home side, and on the half hour Oliver Mellor was given a straight red card for a poor challenge on Sean Calvert.
The visitors threatened to increase their lead, but Calvert shot just over the bar, and Jack Leamey was prevented from making a shot into an empty net under pressure from Town defender Jonathan Sheldon.
After the break Hanley reorganised, and just as the Reds had done a week ago, they put in a strong performance in the second half with ten men. In contrast, AFC Liverpool struggled to settle into their usual passing game in the muddy conditions.
With twenty minutes left, the Reds made some defensive substitutions in an attempt to protect their lead, but in the seventy-eighth minute Daniel Hughes made a sliding tackle, clearing the ball just inside the penalty area before connecting with a Hanley player. The referee pointed to the spot, but Hughes was only awarded a yellow card.
Hanley’s star player Theo Stair stepped up to take the penalty and despite a one-handed save from Garner, Stair followed up with a header which found the back of the net.
Both teams went all out to find a winner. Hanley sent a ball across the face of goal and Adegbenro had the chance to seal it for the visitors with 2 minutes left, his shot beating Jackson before Sheldon pulled off a last-ditch goalline clearance.
Reds substitute Jack Hont also saw red after a rash challenge in the final minute of normal time, and despite more chances from a series of corners late on, Kevin Dally’s side had to settle for the away draw.
Hanley Town 2-2 AFC Liverpool
Cope 13’ Adegbenro 3.
Stair 79’ Brislen 20’
Hanley Town: 1.Dane Jackson 2.Charlie Goldstraw 3.Joshua Bristow 4.Jonathan Sheldon 5.Benjamin Blowers 6.Martin Stanyer (C) 7.Oliver Mellor 8.Angelo Errico 9.Daniel Cope 10.Theo Stair 11.Tom Ashton
Subs Not Used: 12.Oliver Edwards 13.Sean Mountford 14.Emlyn Omibeku 15.Mitchell Dennis 16.Jonathan Simon
AFC Liverpool: 1.Dominic Garner 2.Kieron Brislen 3.Daniel Hughes 4.Jonathon Swatton (C) 5.Ricky Ager 6.Dimitrios Christou 7.Jack Leamey (12.Michael White 64’) 8.Francis Smith 9.Emini Adegbenro 10.Sean Calvert (14. Jack Hont 76’) 11.Conor Smith (15.Frederick Champion 71’)
Subs not used: 13.Ross Dalton 16.Gary Whelan
AFC Liverpool Man of the Match: Emini Adegbenro
Photo Courtesy of Dave Williams