AFC Telford 1 Gainsborough Trinity 1 - Report and pictures
[gallery] A sending-off was the turning point as AFC Telford United were pegged back late on to draw 1-1 with Gainsborough Trinity, writes Joe Edwards at the New Bucks Head.
Bucks skipper Luca Havern was given his marching orders shortly into the second period for a second bookable offence, after a fine long-range strike from debutant Eddie Jones in the first half.
Trinity piled on the pressure after Havern's dismissal, forcing a number of fine saves from James Montgomery before Nathan Jarman levelled the scores in the 85th minute.
Telford announced a quartet of signings just an hour prior to kick-off - Luke Higham and Henry Cameron arriving on one-month loans from Blackpool, and Jones and Lewis Hayden coming in from Solihull Moors.
Higham and Jones made the starting line-up, while Cameron and Hayden were on the bench along with Tony Donaldson, who signed from Doncaster Rovers on loan on Friday, and Jonathan Royle - back after a groin injury.
It was very much a game of two halves and Telford had players miss a couple of gilt-edged opportunities before taking the lead through Jones in the 32nd minute - particularly Josh Wilson, who had a penalty saved in the first 10 minutes.
Rob Smith's charges could have easily been two or three ahead at the break but the pendulum swung in Trinity's favour as Havern clipped Josh Lacey on the far touchline in the 48th minute, earning a second yellow after picking up a first booking just prior to half-time.
With the man advantage, the away side grew in confidence and Jarman, who was their best player on the day, smashed home after a goalmouth scramble.
He then clipped the post with an audacious volley in stoppage time as Telford just managed to hang on for a point.
The Bucks have not won in the league since November 19 and are now just two points above the National League North drop zone. Next up for them is a home clash with another side towards the bottom, Curzon Ashton.
8 - Telford are awarded a penalty as Elliot Hodge is brought down by Gainsborough goalkeeper George Willis, but Josh Wilson's effort from the spot is saved. Willis, who was booked for clipping the Bucks winger inside the area, gets down well to produce a top-drawer save. Wilson has now missed his last two spot-kicks.
25 - Wilson, who has not let the penalty miss get him down, tees up debutant Eddie Jones but he scuffs a shot wide from the edge of the area.
27 - Somehow it is still 0-0. Firstly, John-Paul Kissock's shot deflects out for a corner after a clever cut-back from Dwayne Samuels. The ball is swung into the box and skipper Luca Havern rises highest, only to see his bounce off the post and the ball is then cleared.
32 - GOAL! Telford break the deadlock through Jones. The midfielder, who has signed after leaving Solihull Moors on Thursday, picks the ball up from 25 yards out and strikes it firmly into the bottom corner. A deserved lead as visitors Gainsborough have shown very little attacking intent.
38 - Havern is shown a yellow card by referee Matthew Donohue for a late challenge on Trinity midfielder Alex Wiles.
48 - A second yellow for Havern, and he's off. Poor judgement from the central defender as he clips Josh Lacey on the far touchline and is sent for an early shower.
53 - With a man advantage, Gainsborough are growing into the game and skipper Nathan Jarman's long-range strike forces a good save from Bucks shot-stopper James Montgomery.
55 - Having just entered the fray, Trinity's James Reid goes very close to levelling the scores. He cuts in from the right onto his left foot, and fizzes a shot just past the far post.
63 - Somehow Telford are still ahead. Gainsborough winger Jordan Thewlis goes through one-on-one but Montgomery makes an important stop, and the follow-up hits the side netting.
70 - A massive chance for the hosts to go 2-0 up. Jones should get his second of the game but after rounding the Gainsborough keeper, his shot from the edge of the box is off-target.
82 - Another Gainsborough opportunity, and another miss. Jarman evades a few challenges, advances towards the box and curls an effort just wide of the mark.
85 - GOAL! Gainsborough finally get an equaliser. The ball is bouncing around in the area following a corner and Jarman reacts quickest, smashing in from point-blank range.
90 - Jarman, who has been the best player for the visitors, almost gets a second to win it for Gainsborough right at the death. He controls the ball, sublimely flicks it over Bailey and his volley hits the post.
Telford (4-3-3): Montgomery; Samuels, Havern (c), Bailey, Higham; Rea, Jones (Royle, 80), Kissock; Hodge (McCone, 49), McCarthy (Cameron, 64), Wilson. Subs not used: Hayden, Donaldson.
Gainsborough (4-5-1) : Willis; Picton, Evans, Roma, Lacey; Burdett (Reid, 53), Wilson (Rothery, 58), Thornhill, Wiles (Worsfold, 66), Thewlis;, Jarman (c). Subs not used: Beatson, Quinn.
Referee: Matthew Donohue
Position in the table
18th (24 points from 24 games)