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Town U19s 2 Malt Shovel 2

After a first half cut short by what appeared to be a serious injury to debutant goalkeeper Paul Foster, Town U19s began their WRCFA title defence with a 2-2 draw against Malt Shovel.

Town found themselves a goal down when the injury occured and conceded again two minutes after the restart, but then began to improve.

James Richardson found the corner just after the hour mark before Sam Clark powered home with ten minutes to go, though a decisive third eluded Town who were made to settle for an opening night point.

Josh Falkingham's gave Paul Foster a debut in goal for his side's season opener, while Sam Clark lead the attack after an impressive pre-season.

The visitors took the lead after just six minutes when Raistrick's left wing cross was guided into the corner by the head of Malt Shovel's number 66, Kombe.

Town looked for a quick reply, but efforts from James Richardson and Soni Fergus were denied by the Shovel stopper.

Gus Steele almost headed in the equaliser mid way through the half after directing Neil Patience's free kick towards goal, but just the wrong side of the upright.

With around 15 minutes to play until half time, Foster came rushing out of goal to punch away a cross and landed awkwardly on his arm, resulting in a stoppage of over half an hour and our debutant 'keeper leaving the field in an ambulance.

It was agreed that the match would be resumed from the start of the second half, which was only two minutes old before Kombe claimed his second of the night, nipping in front of the advancing Rhys Durkin to poke home a cross.

Town again responded well to conceding, but missed the chance to pull a goal back when Louie Gibson's header from Patience's corner hit the post on its way out of play.

The hosts eventually got their goal on the hour mark when, after a mazy run by Sam Barker took out three Shovel defenders, the ball broke to Richardson who swept into the bottom left corner.

After getting themselves back in the game, Falkingham's side began to pile on the pressure with Clark and Steele both going close to finding an equaliser.

With ten minutes to play, Town finally got a deserved equaliser as Sam Clark received the ball from Sean Hunter before bursting through the middle of the Shovel defence and powering past the 'keeper.

Town almost completed the turnaround three minutes later when Clark's low cross found Richardson arriving at the back post, but the winger couldn't stretch far enough to divert the ball under the cross bar.

The lively winger almost saw his cross nestle into the corner in the last stages, moments before Shovel's goal scorer was shown a late red card for a foul on Nuno Perreria as a thoroughly entertaining football match ended level.

Town U19s: Paul Foster (Durkin 45), Perriera, Chippendale, Fergus (Hunter 14), Gibson, Steele, Richardson, Patience (Ryan Foster 78), Clark, Barker, Dixon-Blair

Goals: Richardson 61, Clark 80