MYKEL BECKLEY grabbed a second half equaliser to earn Stratford Town a fully deserved 1-1 Midland Alliance draw at high-flying Causeway United on Tuesday night.
The home side, who plat at Stourbridge’s Amblecote ground, almost took a fifth minute lead through Scott Stevenson whose well struck shot was pushed around the post by keeper Tom Heath at full stretch.
Town responded with Beckley creating an opening for James Travis but his powerful 20-yard shot was superbly saved by home keeper Tom Turner.
It sparked a good spell for Town with Ricky Baker, Travis and Beckley all thwarted by fine saves from Turner.
The visitors survived a scare when Craig Gregg thumped a shot against the foot of a post but Causeway did break the deadlock five minutes before the break when Heath failed to hold an effort from Scott Devlin who scored at the second attempt.
Stratford recovered from the blow and got back on level terms eight minutes after the break when the lively Beckley fired home the rebound after Travis’ shot was blocked following a corner from Mark Faulds.
Beckley was denied by Turner but at the other end Aaron Lloyd headed inches wide before firing into the side netting shortly after.
Stratford went close when Beckley released young substitute Jamie Molyneux whose effort was turned around the post by Turner.
Both sides continued to press for a winner and they each rattled the woodwork in the closing stages.
Stuart Herlihy hit the post following another corner from Faulds but shortly after home defender Matt Aston was unlucky with a powerful header which cannoned back off the bar and was scrambled clear.
Town had suffered a disappointing 2-0 defeat against title-chasing Westfields at the DCS Stadium on Saturday.
New signing Alex Gudger nearly made a dream debut for Town with a well struck free kick which hit the bar.
But Westfields opened the scoring midway through the first half when Daryl Addis ended a fine run by crossing for Craig Jones top expertly finish.
Addis doubled the advantage five minutes before the break by clinically punishing a handling error from keeper Tom Heath.
Town enjoyed plenty of possession in the second half but they lacked a cutting edge and struggled to break down the resolute visitors defence.
Town, who remain 13th in the table, visit title-chasing Gresley Rovers this Saturday (3pm).
They then make the short journey to Studley for a Polymac Services League Cup quarter-final tie on Tuesday (7.45pm). The winners will face either Tipton Town or Ellesmere Rangers in the two-legged semi-final.
MAT Jackson is already looking forward to his
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