A last-gasp equaliser from Kieran Francis rescued a point for Lichfield City in a hard-fought 1-1 draw against Stourport Swifts at the Trade Tyre Community Stadium.
A tap-in on the line from Francis kept City’s unbeaten start to the season going and the hosts may well have wondered how it was only a point that they were walking away with.
The game was a slow one in the first 45 minutes as chances were few and far between. A Lewi Burnside half-chance from the edge of the box was really the only opportunity that the hosts had in a frustrating first half.
Stourport, who arrived seemingly happy to settle for a point, were content with sitting deep and dealing with the awry passes that were inevitably going astray from the hosts. Lichfield, in stark contrast to Monday, really struggled to create consistent opportunities in a drab first half.
The second half started better for the visitors and, after a lapse in concentration from a throw-in for the visitors, Stourport struck and took the lead from virtually their first shot of the game.
After good linkup in the penalty box, the ball eventually dropped to the edge of the box and the low drive wriggled past James Beeson in goal and nestled into the bottom corner.
The hosts had countless chances to equalise. A Joe Haines drive and shot was parried by the Swifts goalkeeper, and it struck Jono Gould in the face and somehow sailed over the bar from a few yards out. Another good save by the visiting goalkeeper Jamie Emery denied Dan ‘Wonder’ Smith from point-blank range with a header.
The hosts began to huff and puff in search of an equaliser but the stubborn defence of Stourport were holding out and surviving the attacks from Ivor Green’s men.
A controversial handball from outside of his area from the Swifts goalkeeper caused mass appeal. The referee didn’t give the handball but the linesman, who was further away, gave it.
The free-kick came to nothing, despite there being an almighty scramble in the penalty box. The referee’s decisions were beginning to take hold with complaints from both officials over the referee’s officiating.
Just as they seemed to run out of steam, with minutes to play, the hosts struck. Good work in the build-up from Jack Edwards and Lewi Burnside led to the shot from Edwards which was blocked and turned in on the line by substitute Francis to rescue a point.
City travel to Shifnal next weekend and hope to carry on their unbeaten start to the league season.