Ten man Scarborough Athletic hung on for a valiant point at Evo-Stik South high-flyers Leek Town on Saturday afternoon.
Boro had Gary Bradshaw sent off in the second half of a heated top of the table battle on an awful Leek pitch.
Rudy Funk welcomed defender Andy Milne back into the squad, though Matty Plummer and Joe Lamplough were absent. Steve Ridley slotted in at left-back.
Boro almost made a terrible start to the game as Leek winger John Johnson went down in the area after only 30 seconds of play, but the referee deemed Ridley’s tackle as legal.
The visitors soon began to grow into the game, though the beach-like conditions of the Harrison Park pitch certainly weren’t ideal.
Ryan Blott may have been left blaming a bobble or three when he failed to convert two excellent chances.
He was firstly played in on Ben Chapman, but denied by the keeper’s foot, then Bradshaw freed him up in the box, but he again failed to convert.
Blott soon made up for these misses when Chapman failed to handle a cross, the striker neatly poking beyond him.
The lead was short-lived though as Leek were given a bit of fortune.
A ball into the box struck the back of Andy Kinsey’s head and fell nicely to John Johnson, who lifted over a stranded Jason White.
Boro probably held the upper hand for the remainder of the half, though it was Leek who had the best chance.
Niall Maguire chested a ball down in the box with only White to beat, but he lobbed into the Leek fans.
Boro continued to press when the second half began, and just minutes int they retook the lead.
Tom Davie was sent sprawling on the edge of the box, Ryan Williams stepped up and curled home the free-kick off the post.
Again Leek hit back immediately as Jordan Johnson’s charge into the box was ended by a Milne tackle. Johnson brushed off the sand and mud and rolled the penalty into the bottom corner.
As the chill began to surround the north Potteries, the heat began to rise on the pitch, with referee Tom Harty handing out a number of yellow cards.
Boro continued to press, with sub Bryan Hughes striking wide after a horrible bobble. Davie made a better connection with his lobbed volley, but it sailed just past Chapman’s post.
Things continued to turn sour though and Boro striker Gary Bradsahw was given a straight red for a foul on Ryan Dicker. Plenty of pushing, shoving and finger pointing followed, both on the pitch and between dug-outs.
Reduced in numbers, Boro posed less of an attacking threat in the final minutes, but they still hung on for a deserved point.