STRATFORD Town grabbed a late equaliser to claim a point in a 1-1 draw with Redditch United at the Valley Stadium on Tuesday night, writes Bryan Hale.
And a point was the least they deserved after dominating the game for long periods after the Reds had taken an early lead.
Town made a bright start with Will Grocott and Ben Stephens moving the ball about in pleasing style and Dan Summerfield pushing forward down the right to deliver a couple of useful crosses, but against the run of play it was the Reds who went in front in the tenth minute with their first sight of goal.
Town struggled to get the ball clear and although there didn’t seem much on when it reached Luke Keen on the edge of the penalty area he swivelled to drill a crisp left foot drive beyond Niall Cooper into the bottom corner.
Town continued to play some neat football with Richard Gregory not far away with a 20 yarder on 20 minutes followed soon after by Stephens hitting a low right foot effort from 15 yards out which was pushed behind by the Reds keeper Bradley Catlow plunging to his left.
The travelling Town faithful held their collective breath on the half-hour mark when Liam Francis upended Simeon Cobourne right on the 18-yard line.
Former England international Lee Hendrie – who had replaced the injured Reece Hales some minutes earlier – marked his return to the Reds by firing the resulting free-kick into the Town wall and the ball spun away to be safely claimed by Cooper.
Gregory then went close ten minutes later, but although having plenty of possession Town went in at the break still one down.
Town again looked the better side after the restart and Mike Taylor was desperately unlucky in the 56th minute when his fiercely-struck shot hit Catlow and the ball looped tantalisingly over the bar.
Catlow made a more conventional save from a Gregory piledriver a couple of minutes later and then saved again from Stephens as the leveller frustratingly refused to come.
Carl Adams sent on Edwin Ahenkorah followed by Donnell Benjamin as the time ticked away, and the two substitutes combined to rescue a point as Benjamin’s sliderule pass sent Ahenkorah surging down the inside right channel and the ex-Reds striker unerringly slotted it past Catlow.
Stratford Town: Niall Cooper, Dan Summerfield (Donnell Benjamin 84), Kieren Westwood, James Fry (c), Liam Francis, Guy Clark, Barry Fitzharris (Edwin Ahenkorah 78), Will Grocott, Richard Gregory, Mike Taylor, Ben Stephens.