DANNY Murphy bagged a second half equaliser to salvage a 1-1 draw for Feckenham at Fairfield Villa, but the promotion-chasing Millers are now four matches victory a victory in Midland League Division Two.
It may well turn out to be a valuable point for Feckenham but they are now nine points behind second place, albeit with two games in hand, ahead of Saturday’s (2.30pm) home game against Solihull United, which is followed by the club’s race night at 7.30pm at the Entaco.
Saturday’s stalemate was far from a classic but nevertheless was an entertaining fixture in difficult conditions.
Aaron Blackwood’s men were without Billy Garvey through suspension and Jack Cole and George Lutwyche missed out through injuries, whilst in-form Umit Eminoglu was only deemed fit enough for a position on the bench.
Ryan Young remained in goal, supported by a defensive contingent of Jordan Adams, Jamie Hatfield and Jake Donnelly. Captain Ben Welsh returned to midfield and was supported by the talented Dan Sutton, whilst top goalscorer Murphy, Ben Cox, Daniel Williams, the returning Liam Fullerton and Jak Albutt provided attacking options.
The hosts had the benefit of the storm-like wind on their backs in the first half and it soon became evident the conditions would play a huge part.
The Millers were tight and resolute in a battling display determined to stop Fairfield’s threat and neither side were able to master the elements.
In a first half full of endeavour and graft, it was no wonder the first goal had an element of good fortune about it as a right-wing corner was whipped in with pace and power by Ludlow and his dead-ball deceived everyone and nestled into net after 27 minutes.
Moments later Fairfield’s lead was nearly doubled but for a smart save by Young who dived at full length to push away a fierce drive.
Villa’s custodian Elliot Hart then showed his growing maturity with a smart save to deny Fullerton as the half drew to a close before Jake Donnelly saw a header go inches wide.
After the interval, a response of sorts was produced by the Millers who were now wind-assisted.
The momentum switched and Murphy, Albutt and Fullerton all came close to levelling, but Fairfield defended heroically through Scott Smith and Matt Jackson.
However, 14 minutes into the second half Joseph Heywood was adjudged to have handled the ball and the resulting penalty was duly converted by Murphy to restore parity.
Both sides did their utmost to gain the advantage as they battled away in difficult conditions and Young was forced into a smart save low down to his right before the Millers almost snatched a late winner, but Heywood atoned for his penalty woes with a superb goalline block to keep out Welsh’s fine strike.
Report compiled with the help of Phil Tattersall.