Pictures John Hopkins
WARRINGTON Town were denied with the last kick of the game in a thrilling 4-4 draw at FC United.
Curtis Jones headed home from Mike Potts’ cross in the fifth minute of injury time to deny Paul Carden’s side the three points in a tremendous advert for non-league football.
Jordan Buckley had scored twice against his former club as the Yellows fought from two goals down to lead twice against the third placed Reds, and it looked like Mark Roberts’ goal on 71 minutes might have won it but for the most heartbreaking of endings.
Buckley was brought back in to the team to return to Broadhurst Park, with Josh Amis preferred to Fisayo Adarabioyo, who had scored in the abandoned game at Buxton on Tuesday night.
United took the lead in the ninth minute, a succession of free-kicks on the right hand side ending with an effort from Morgan Homson-Smith taking a wicked deflection past Bobby Jones in to the far post.
The league’s top scorer Tunde Owolabi had a big chance to double the lead on 23 minutes when he proved too strong for David Raven, his shot well saved by Jones, and Owolabi could only steer the rebound in to the side netting.
The Yellows were struggling to get their foot on the ball, but were enjoying some success pressing United high up the pitch and gradually they wore the hosts down.
Josh Amis had a big chance on the half hour, tipped wide by Cameron Belford, while Dylan Vassallo was getting plenty of touches in midfield.
They were dealt a blow on 39 minutes though, when Paul Ennis’ weak shot squeezed through in to the box to Owolabi, who turned and shot to make it 2-0.
But the most dramatic of final five minutes resulted in the sides going in level at half time.
Jack Mackreth, who had switched to the left, won the ball back high up the pitch and Vassallo’s low ball across was bundled home by Buckley.
Warrington had their tails up, and after a couple of Mackreth crosses came to nothing, they got a bizarre equaliser. Buckley put in a high cross from the left touchline and it managed to evade Belford and squeeze in under the crossbar on the far side.
The Yellows suffered an early blow at the start of the second half, Raven forced off with a hamstring tweak, as the game continued at a lively pace.
And they stunned the hosts on 55 minutes, Vassallo winning the ball back in midfield and finding Mackreth, who picked out the top corner from 20 yards for 3-2.
Warrington looked for calm and for a brief spell, it seemed like they had found it. That was until Mitch Duggan had a brain explosion on the far touchline, losing out when trying to shepherd the ball out for a throw in, and then in response charging in to wipe out the trailing leg of Adam Dodd as the left-back crossed from inside the box.
The referee had no choice but to give a penalty, and Ennis kept his cool to level things at 3-3.
The 2,088 crowd were engrossed in the game and Buckley twice had chances to get his hat-trick, one deflected over and one cleared off the line, before a Bohan Dixon free-kick was parried out for Mark Roberts to poke home the rebound.
It was backs against the wall for the visitors for the final quarter of the match, though the Yellows very nearly nabbed a fifth on 78 minutes when Jones’ interception almost looped over his own keeper’s head.
Warrington’s Adam Carden was then booked in the dugout as things got heated, his protests for a bizarre offside call when Olufisayo Adarabioyo appeared to be in his own half, proving too strong for the referee’s liking, while the defending was getting ever more desperate, both Duggan and Roberts putting in crucial challenges to deny United.
Five minutes of added time came, and it seemed that the Yellows had done enough, twice denying Daniel Trickett-Smith, until with the very last kick of the game, Jones glanced home Potts’ cross from the right from a short free-kick.
The Yellows are next in action at Ashton United on Tuesday night.
FC United: Belford, Morris, Dodd, Elsdon (Trickett-Smith), Doyle, Jones, Homson-Smith (Sinclair-Smith), Potts, Owolabi, Griffiths, Ennis (Lenehan). Subs: Kerr, Linney.
Warrington Town: Jones, Duggan, Warren, Brown, Roberts, Raven (Sephton), Mackreth, Vassallo, Amis (Adarabioyo), Buckley (Marriott), Dixon. Subs: Gray, Wall.