Lee McAndrew scored a dramatic late penalty to earn Whickham a draw at home to Ryhope CW and extend their unbeaten run to three games in the league.
Kyle Downey was denied twice by James Winter in the first-half, but it was the visitors that took the lead against the run of play through Ben Riding.
Tom Scothern levelled the game just after the hour mark, while Brad Hird converted a penalty on 80 minutes after Matty Weirs was brought down in the box.
The Lang Jacks pressed for another equaliser and were awarded a penalty in the 94th-minute. McAndrew rifled the spot-kick home to secure a point.
Mark Convery introduced new signing Jack Robson straight into the starting line-up and it was, indeed, the hosts that started brightly.
Downey had the first sight of goal in the second minute, while Damien Stevens’ effort was smothered by the ‘keeper on 16 minutes.
Dan Staples was called into action two minutes later to keep the game level. The ‘keeper tipped James Ellis’ fine strike over the bar at his near post.
Robson, who signed from Morpeth Town on a one-month loan, was causing real problems down the left side and struck narrowly wide of the post just before the half-hour mark.
The home side should’ve broken the deadlock thereafter with two fantastic openings in the space of a minute, the first coming on 35 minute.
Conor Newton dissected the Ryhope back line with a terrific through ball, which was latched upon by Downey, who was denied by the legs of the ‘keeper.
The Whickham midfielder had another chance to put the hosts ahead, but Winter, again, produced a top save to get down at his near post to stop a great strike.
The Lang Jacks closed out the half on top, a half that they were comfortable and were the better team for the majority. Stevens fired inches wide of the post before Robson’s first-time effort, on 43 minutes, was gathered by the ‘keeper.
Going into the second-half, Whickham would’ve been aiming to pick up where they left off and Dale Burrell went close to opening the scoring with a free-kick on 48 minutes.
However, the hosts were dealt a blow when Ryhope took the lead against the run of play on 55 minutes. A through ball round Riding in the penalty area and the midfielder kept his composure to strike home.
Just a couple of minutes after Ollie Hotchkiss volleyed over the bar, Ryhope were lucky to have 11 men on the pitch after a very late challenge from Danni Lay went unpunished.
Nevertheless, the Lang Jacks prevailed and made it 1-1 just six minutes later. Robson controlled a long ball forward into the path of Newton, who drove through the heart of the Ryhope team.
Newton handed off to Downey, who was denied by an excellent save from Winter, but Scothern was on hand at the back post to steer the ball home – his third goal of the season.
The game was played at a very high tempo from both sides and in the 80th minute, Weirs drove into the box, knocked the ball past Staples, who brought the player down in the area.
Hird made no mistake from the spot to regain the lead for the visitors. The striker had a chance two minutes later, but fired wide of the far post.
Whickham regrouped again and finished on the front foot. Newton’s long ball over the top was latched upon by Robson, who raced forward and struck inches wide of the post on 83 minutes.
Time was running out, but in the third minute of additional time, Robson’s shot deflected before Downey was brought down in the Ryhope box and the hosts were awarded a penalty of their own.
The time in between the decision being made and when the whistle was blown, but McAndrew had ice running through his veins and he dispatched the penalty, with ease, into the top corner.
There was still enough time for a late scare at the other end, but the points were shared and Whickham go into Saturday’s game away at Billingham Town full of confidence.
Whickham: Staples, McAndrew, Exley, Peareth (Collins, 84), Galbraith, Burrell, Scothern, Downey, Stevens, Newton, Robson
Subs Not Used: Howard, Doyle, Burn, Cranston
Ryhope CW: Winter, Lay, Gordon, Riding, Trewick, Wallace, Weirs, Hotchkiss, Hird, Hodgson (Judson, 79), Ellis (Vincent, 86)
Subs Not Used: Harkess, Woods, Jones
Goals: 0-1, 55 min, Riding; 1-1, 66 min, Scothern; 1-2, 80 min, Hird (Pen); 2-2, 90+4 min, McAndrew (Pen)
Referee: Steven Lawson
Assistants: Sam Parnaby and David Watson
|March 4, 2020||7:30 pm||Northern League Division One||2019-2020|
|The First Mortgage Glebe|
|Whickham Football Club||2|
KO 84 FT