North West Counties

Football League Division

One South

St Martins 1

Cheadle Heath Nomads 1

St MARTINS were left frustrated after some dubious decisions by the officials meant they fell short of a victory in their 1-1 draw with Cheadle Heath Nomads.

The Saints went in at the break a goal down after having two goals of their own disallowed.

Late into the second half, the hosts had a strong penalty shout dismissed by the referee.

A persistent St Martins side were able to take a point from the game after a late Karl Bailey goal meant the sides shared the spoils.

Manager Dan Stevens said he found the decisions frustrating, and a loss would’ve been unfair.

He said: “I’ve watched the game back and both our first half goals are wrongly disallowed.

“What’s more frustrating is they aren’t really that close to call and we have been on the wrong end of offside calls ourselves this season.

“We also should have had a clear penalty with 10 minutes left; score that and momentum is there to go on and win the game.

“It would have been a complete injustice to lose.”

St Martins dominated possession in the first half and came close early on when Brendon Price’s header was tipped wide of the post.

The first disallowed goal of the game came shortly afterwards when Bailey was called offside as he found the net.

After several missed chances from the hosts, Nomads took the lead when a long ball eventually found Philip Yuille, who struck an audacious attempt 40 yards from George Austin’s goal which put his team into the lead.

Saints netted again before the break through Price, but his effort was also ruled out for offside.

St Martins were denied another opportunity to draw level late into the second half when Jordan Davies was brought down inside the penalty area, but the officials waived play on.

They were rewarded for their efforts when Bailey got on the end of a Tawanda Melusi pass and finished from close range.

Despite not being able to push on to claim all three points, the Saints boss had praise for his players who kept pushing for a goal to change the game.

He said: “We controlled large parts of the game without being as fluent as we can be, but they were very organised and defended well.

“They had limited territory and chances but ultimately, they got a goal out of nothing and it gave them something to defend.

“I thought we kept trying to play, showed character to keep believing the goal would come and fully deserved at least a point and I’m really proud of the players’ efforts.”

The draw means the Saints have now gone four games without a defeat in the league.

Stevens believes it is vital his team continues to push for draws in closely-fought fixtures.

He said: “We don’t draw enough games.

“Barnton, Stone, Eccleshall and Vauxhall were all games we have lost and should have at least drawn.

“Drawing all four would put us on 30 points, which would put us joint in first.

“They are games we need to win of course, but if we can’t win we must make sure we don’t lose.”