ROCESTER Juniors Hornets drew 1-1 with fellow Under-11 Division Four strugglers Outwoods Hawks to stay second from bottom in the table.
The young Romans bagged a draw after Owen Carrington levelled a first-half strike from the visitors in this Burton & District Junior League clash.
Rocester went into the match against the Hawks with revenge in mind after losing 3-1 in the corresponding fixture earlier in the season.
The first half was scrappy at times, but a well-balanced contest with both teams launching speculative forays into each other’s half – each attack being well dealt with by the respective defences.
Hornets’ breaks were largely fuelled through the pacy Wawrzyniec Rybakowski and Nathan Winstanley, although occasionally Conor O’Sullivan caused havoc by breaking from the back.
A Hornets attack looked promising on the 20-minute mark.
Bobby Samuel and Nathan Winstanley had the Outwoods defence at sixes and sevens. But a mistake from Rocester in keeping the ball in when it was going out for a throw immediately fed an Outwoods forward.
Unchallenged, he ran on and hit a powerful shot which left keeper Jack Wright with no chance.
On 25 minutes, Hornets had their best chance of the half.
Rybakowski broke into the area and his first-time shot was saved by the Outwoods keeper, who spilt the ball.
Winstanley was instinctively first to pounce on the loose ball but could only power his shot over the bar.
The second half started in the same way as the first – an even contest.
A goalmouth scramble on 40 minutes almost had Hornets celebrating, with shots from Samuel and Lawrence finding the Outwoods keeper in fine form.
Five minutes later, though, and Hornets brought themselves back into the game.
A run and speculative shot from Carrington easily found the back of the Outwoods net to level the scores.
A teasing Rybakowski free kick following a blatant foul on Winstanley in full flight was superbly floated into the area but no Hornets player could get on the end of it.
Outwoods were unlucky not to regain their lead in the dying minutes when Rocester keeper Wright found himself in a one-on-one with an Outwoods attacker.
Intercepting the ball well, he could only clear the ball to an Outwoods player whose shot cannoned off the Hornets post.
Man of the match was George Mothershaw for a very committed performance.
DOVERIDGE Red Youth have reached the final of the Zafire Youth League Cup to be played at Burton Albion’s Pirelli Stadium in May.
The village side beat LRT 2-1 in the semi-final thanks to a penalty from Alex Fowler and a long-range effort from Josh Owen-Towe.
They will face Ashbourne Aztecs in the final after they overcame local rivals Mayfield Youth 3-1 in the other semi-final in a game featuring two red cards.
Manager Jonathan Slim has managed Doveridge from under-9 through to the youth league.