It was a difficult day for WEST BRIDGFORD in the East Midlands Counties League on Saturday, which turned out in the end to be highly satisfactory.
The table-toppers signed Isaac Minnot from Holbrook Sports in the morning; the young debutant then levelled the score in their game against ANSTEY NOMADS on 20 minutes and received a straight red card a minute later leaving the Nottingham side to play the remaining 69 plus minutes with ten-men.
Anstey had been in front twice. Mark Foster scored both their goals, the first opening the day’s account on 8 minutes.
Enter Minnot. Then exit Minnot. Foster struck again on the half-hour mark only for Jurgan Charlesworth to level things up again just 2 minutes later.
Tim Hopkinson put West Bridgford ahead for the first time on 69 minutes and the ten men held onto their advantage to stretch their lead at the top of the table to six points.
Leaders of the chasing pack, BIRSTALL UNITED, could not keep their winning run going and ultimately had to come from behind three times before sharing an eight-goal thriller with BORROWASH VICTORIA.
Jacob Brandon gave the Vics a flying 6th minute start and Idris Kabongo stretched that lead to two in the 11th minute.
Tim Marriott and Dan Jelley struck within 2 minutes of each other to restore the stalemate and an Ashley Way penalty 6 minutes before the break put them into the lead for the first time in the game.
Two goals in 4 minutes from Sasha Markelic midway through the second half turned the game back into the Vics favour but Mitch Williams restored parity once again with a fourth for Birstall 12 minutes from the end.
AYLESTONE PARK kept in touch with the leaders with a 2-0 home win over battling GRAHAM STREET PRIMS, but they remain eleven points adrift of the top.
Like a gaggle of other clubs though, they have the leaders still to play and are in the wings waiting for any slip ups. Mason Brown on 42 minutes and Sam Hill on 70 were responsible for the Park goals.
SOUTH NORMANTON ATHLETIC also kept in touch, thanks to a narrow win over a rapidly improving GREENWOOD MEADOWS at Lees Lane.
Sam Kellogg put the Shiners ahead on 22 minutes; Sam Agar levelled 6 minutes after the resumption, but a Tom Leighton penalty on 69 minutes ensured the Shiners kept the points.
STAPENHILL slipped a little further from glory as they could only share the spoils with visiting DUNKIRK at Maple Avenue.
Tom Ollerton broke the deadlock on 70 minutes but the Boatmen substitute Jordan Alls claimed a point 5 minutes from the end.
Perhaps the best away win of the day was achieved by BELPER UNITED who came back after trailing for almost an hour to win with two late goals at BLABY & WHETSTONE ATHLETIC.
James Ireland had put the home side ahead just after the half-hour mark and it stayed like that until Sam Vickers scored twice on 84 and 85 minutes to take the points back to Derbyshire.
The biggest win of the day was enjoyed by BARROW TOWN who beat visiting RADCLIFFE OLYMPIC 4-1.
Nathan Kee-Moss opened the scoring for them on 28 minutes, but Aaron Mitchell restored parity 4 minutes into the second half.
The visitors then felt the blast as Ben Law on 54 minutes, Zak Ginvert on 75 and Chris Shaw eight minutes from the end sent the Barrow supporters home happy.
KIMBERLEY MINERS WELFARE remain in fourth position after a Felix Hogg goal on 49 minutes gave them all three points on their visit to HOLBROOK SPORTS, whilst the bottom two could not be separated as GEDLING MINERS WELFARE and ELLISTOWN & IBSTOCK UNITED couldn’t find a goal between them.
RADFORD suffered another slip as an 89th minute goal by Danny Quinn took all three points away from Selhurst Street for ASHBY IVANHOE.
Quinn had earlier opened the scoring with a 5th minute penalty which Joe Meakin levelled within 2 minutes.
It took until the 76th minute for Lee Attenborough to level the scores again, then came Quinn’s late winner.
Over at HOLWELL SPORTS a Mark Tinsley 12th minute goal was overturned by ARNOLD TOWN.
Luke Smith brought the scores level again with a 38th minute penalty and 2 minutes into stoppage time at the end of the game the Eagles completed a total recovery when Barry Payne snatched all three points for them.