Grantham Town share the points with Hyde United
Northern Premier League Premier Division
Grantham Town 2
Hyde United 2
Grantham Town shared the spoils with the Tigers at The Meres on Saturday – but to Gingerbreads fans it felt like daylight robbery.
Town dominated the first half and went into half time a goal up. A lower key second half was set alight by a controversial equaliser, immediately followed by two red cards and a penalty shortly after, putting Hyde in the driving seat.
But a late leveller for the Gingerbreads redressed the balance score-wise and gave some kind of poetic justice.
The game kicked off at a brisk pace on a pleasant sunny afternoon, with United having the first half-chance in the third minute, but Luis Morrison's header lacked power.
Grantham's Adam Smith headed over from a curling James Berrett cross a minute later, whilst Remaye Campbell scuffed his sixth minute effort wide.
Opportunities for Town came thick and fast, with Craig Westcarr floating a header over the bar in the seventh minute and skipper Danny Racchi having his shot blocked from outside the United box.
The opening goal came on the quarter hour mark after Town were awarded a free kick for handball outside the Hyde box. Westcarr stepped up and curled his free kick beautifully over the United wall and into the top left hand corner.
The visitors had a good chance to level in the 24th minute but Liam Tongue powered his free kick just wide, with the ball pinging off the rear stanchion.
The Gingerbreads had further opportunities, with Karl Byrne shooting over on the half hour and, a minute later, Charlie Ward heading downwards into the arms of Hyde goalkeeper Luke Mewitt.
United were awarded a free kick outside the box on 34 minutes but Tongue fired straight into the Grantham wall.
Spotting Mewitt well off his line, Westcarr struck an audacious shot from the centre circle in the 35th minute, however the ball bounced wide of the post.
Dan Turner fired just over for the Tigers on 40 minutes, whilst the final action of the half saw Mewitt tip Campbell's injury time strike over the bar.
The Gingerbreads had several early chances to extend their lead after the break, with Byrne shooting wide four minutes in, Westcarr heading backwards into Mewitt's gloves on 54 minutes, and Charlie Ward heading off the crossbar a minute later.
Hyde went close to an equaliser in the 57th minute but Town keeper Sam Andrew smothered John McCombe's close range effort.
After further chances at both ends, the game-changing equaliser came in the 75 minute. Morrison could not believe his luck when looking glaringly offside, following a goalmouth scramble, he tapped in to the disbelief of home side players and supporters.
Protests from Town's players to referee Mr Williams were overshadowed by vocal digruntlement from the Grantham bench, directed at the officials. Two members of the coaching staff promptly received red cards, including joint manager Russ Cousins.
Things had hardly settled down when Hyde were awarded a penalty in the 79th minute, following an unlucky Tom Ward handball. Paddy Lane stepped up and fired in from the spot to put Hyde in front.
The visitors had a couple more chances, with Andrew managing to smother Tongue's 81st minute 25-yarder, and Tongue then curling a free kick over the bar from the side of the Grantham box.
Gingerbreads substitute Gregg Smith curled in a shot on 87 minutes, but Mewitt spotted it early and plucked it from the air.
However, an 89th minute equaliser then sent The Meres faithful wild, with Westcarr staying composed in a goalmouth scramble to fire home and set up a nail-biting finish.
But Mr Williams' four minutes of added time failed to produce a winner for either side, Grantham going closest with Racchi's cross-cum-shot which went straight to Mewitt.
Grantham Town: Andrew, Byrne, Bartle (Broadhead 65), Atkinson, T. Ward (Smith 80), Racchi, Berrett, C. Ward, Westcarr, Campbell, Smith (McGovern 67). Subs not used: Baxendale, Wright. Att: 305.