THE Young Brewers were made to come from behind twice before they could claim a hard-fought point from the visit of Rotherham United.
An Owen Hickson strike from a well-worked freekick got the hosts level the first time around and was followed up later on by a peach of a strike from Jack Holmes to see them hold on for a point.
It was the visitors who made much the better start, however, catching the Young Brewers cold as they found themselves behind inside the opening few minutes, despite the best efforts of goalkeeper Teddy Sharman-Lowe who, after making one fine save to deny the visiting attacker, could do nothing to prevent the rebound.
The half-hour mark saw the best open play chance for the hosts as Holmes exploited the Rotherham high defensive line and found himself bearing through on goal and but for a smart save down low from the goalkeeper would have been celebrating the equalizer.
On the stroke of half-time though the Brewers were indeed celebrating, for the second home match in a row, as a set-piece routine came off just as it had been envisaged in training.
Having been upended on the edge of the area, Hickson took up a position just inside it for the resulting free-kick and in a flash the ball had been moved into his path for the attacking midfielder to sweep into the bottom corner.
Speaking after the match, Professional Development Phase Coach Sam Rose was delighted with how the routine was executed, saying: “Without having a recognised set-piece taker that’s what we do, we work on opportunities to score different types of goals in and around the box.”
This sucker-punch just before the break clearly riled Rotherham as they retook the lead in even sharper fashion than they did in the first half as Sharman-Lowe brought down an onrushing forward who made no mistake from the spot.
Before long the goalkeeper was called into action twice more to keep the deficit at just one, producing a fine save with his feet before springing back up to make an even better one, in a more traditional fashion, to stop a point-blank header.
The visitors were well in the ascendancy at this stage of the game as the weather turned from a blustery chill to horizontal rain in an instant, the Young Brewers though, despite not having a great deal of the ball, always posed a threat on the break.
Speaking afterwards, captain Ciaran Gilligan divulged further on this tactic, stating: "We wanted to let them have the ball at times and most of the game we went with a low block, rather than a high press, but as soon as we win the ball back we’re looking to play quickly through the widemen."
Ad verbatim, that was how the hosts got themselves back into the game.
After going close previously in the half having weaved through bodies only to be denied by the goalkeeper, Holmes would be denied no more as he cut inside from the left onto his favoured right foot and unleashed an effort that arced beautifully into the top corner.
In wheeling away in celebration as soon as the ball was hit, the relief was clear to see on the wideman’s face, and he said as much after the full-time whistle.
“I felt like I wasn’t going to get the goal today, I’d got in behind like three or four times and the keeper made some good saves so it was a relief to see that goal go in and to get us back in the game.”
And back in the game the Young Brewers were, holding out for the remaining minutes to secure the point which felt more like a win in the circumstances truth be told.
“A good old ding dong,” were the first words out of Rose’s mouth afterwards before he added: “There was some good quality from both teams. The most pleasing thing for us though is that we’ve gone behind twice in a game and we’ve shown resilience, determination and commitment while still trying to play in the way that we’re asking the lads to play.”