East Midlands Counties League title race hots up after score draw between Newark Flowserve and Selston
A titanic battle between the top two teams in the East Midlands Counties League ended with honours even as Newark Flowserve and Selston drew 2-2 in front of the biggest step-six crowd in the country.
A 100-seater stand had been erected alongside the goal at the social club end of Lowfields in anticipation of a large crowd to back leaders Flowserve while, at the other end, the supporters of second-placed Selston had hoisted four large flags to stake their claim in the proceedings.
What followed was never dull, though the frenetic action meant that there was little free-flowing football to entertain the remarkable crowd of 673, that nearly trebled the season’s previous best of 253 against Barrow Town in November.
The eagerly-awaited top-of-the-table showdown burst into life in just the fourth minute when the industrious Jack Beckett caught a Selston opponent with his boot after winning a challenge.
The vehement reaction of the opposition resulted in an early booking.
On nine minutes, Selston took the lead when Kenan Layton broke free on the left and crossed for Carl Moore to trigger boisterous celebrations among the sizeable visiting support.
As with the league table, both sides level on points and only goal-difference separating them, there was very little between the two for the remainder of the half.
Flowserve’s best opportunity came ten minutes before the break when Jordan Thomas released Tyrell Shannon-Lewis, but the ball was too far in front of the marauding striker.
Thomas was replaced at the interval by Darryl Price, and Flowserve were level minutes after the break when Jammy Lloyd hit a speculative effort through a crowd of players from the edge of the box.
Selston keeper Alfie Smith-Eccles misjudged the looping and deflected effort and fumbled the ball into his own net.
Skipper Tom Potts, seemingly fully recovered after a thigh injury, and central defensive partner Rhys Lewis won everything in the air as Selston looked to restore their advantage, but it was The Highwaymen who struck next, just before the hour mark.
After his first attempt was blocked, Sam Agar attempted another cross from the right and his ball perfectly dropped for Flowserve’s half-time substitute.
Price, the smallest man on the field, was well placed to head in at the far post as he gave his side the lead for the first time.
Agar rose the highest from a Danny Meadows corner from the right five minutes later, only to be denied by the crossbar with the keeper beaten, and that would have sealed the three points that would have negated Selston’s game in hand.
But, the game had one more twist and in the 70th minute when home keeper Joe Searson could only parry a cross from the left, Klarke Greenham gleefully rammed home the loose ball to ensure a share of the spoils.
On Saturday, Flowserve continued their title charge against Teversal at Lowfields in a 3pm kick-off.