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The Glassboys saw their lead at the top of the table cut to two points after being held to a draw at home by Rushall Olympic on New Year’s Day in a largely scrappy affair in-front of a healthy Bank Holiday crowd.
The Pics were good value for their point and they could well have even got away with a win under their belt. The visitors produced a resolute showing with plenty of energy in midfield through Simeon Maye and looked increasingly threatening going forward as the game wore on and space opened up for the likes of Danny Waldron to exploit.
Stourbridge struggled to get into their stride and possibly were feeling the effects of a third game in seven days at a time when the squad was stretched with injuries and at least a couple of players being under the weather, including in-form striker Luke Benbow.
After a slow start to proceedings, Rushall opened the scoring with nine minutes gone. Ashley Sammons crossed from the right and ex-Glassboy Danny O’Callaghan got in a header that was blocked by Stuart Pierpoint, however Asa Charlton reacted quickest to the loose ball and his effort deflected off Paul McCone past Niall Maher in the home goal.
Rushall threatened again three minutes later after Benbow was dispossessed by another former Glassboy Joe Hull and Charlton fired in a long range shot that skipped past Maher’s left-hand upright.
Stourbridge were back on level terms with sixteen minutes gone. Robert Thompson-Brown unhinged the Rushall defence with a free-kick into the box. Benbow challenged for the initial header and it appeared that as the visitors tried to get the ball out of the six-yard box, Brian Smikle on the floor turned his attempted clearance against Benbow and the ball squeezed past Adam Przybek.
The Glassboys pushed again on 21 minutes with a free-kick from Stuart Pierpoint headed away by Hull to the right-hand side of the box. Aaron Hayden fastened on to the ball and lifted a cross back into the middle where a header from Benbow was collected by Przybek on his line.
Ten minutes later Pierpoint picked up a yellow card after bringing down Rushall’s new on-loan teenage striker Dylan Parker as he dribbled towards the Stourbridge box.
In the 37th minute Thompson-Brown played a sweeping diagonal pass into Benbow in the channel, however he miscued his shot well wide.
Rushall responded two minutes later with Maye feeding Waldron and he tried a low shot from 25-yards that Maher held comfortably and on the stroke of half-time Parker back-heeled the ball into the path of O’Callaghan and he struck a 30-yard shot off-target.
Half-time Stourbridge 1 Rushall Olympic 1
Rushall had the better of the early exchanges after the re-start and on the 54th minute a probing through pass from Tyler Lyttle was only partially cut out by Hayden, allowing Waldron to hit a shot from 20 yards that curled over the bar.
With 56 minutes played Benbow, who was suffering with a cold, gave way for Chekaine Steele, while five minutes later Brad Birch took the place of Thompson-Brown.
Some better play on 65 minutes saw Aaron Forde slide a pass into Kaiman Anderson and he touched a short ball off to Leon Broadhurst. The midfielder advanced just inside the Rushall penalty area as he tried to work room for a shot, however Sammons closed him down well to block his effort.
Brad Birch had his name taken two minutes later for a strong tackle.
In the 71st minute Danny Waldron might have scored one of the goals of the season when he drove forward with pace from well inside his own half and left McCone and Pierpoint in his wake, but as he was closed down by Forde, he flashed his shot from just inside the area the wrong side of Maher’s left-hand post.
Waldron was in the thick of the action again two minutes later as his 25-yard shot drew a good low save from Maher down to his left at the expense of a corner and moments later Hull headed off-target from Sammons’ ball in.
At the other end Greg Mills crossed low from the right flank into the near post area where Anderson’s flick was deflected for a corner.
Tom Tonks replaced Broadhurst with thirteen minutes of the contest remaining. Five minutes later Steele found Mills out wide with a cross-field pass and his centre was headed wide by Anderson.
The visitors went close four minutes from time when Lyttle clipped a 25-yard free-kick narrowly wide of Maher’s right-hand upright.
Two minutes into stoppage time Pierpoint and Anderson challenged for a header in the Rushall area and as the ball dropped to the ground, Hayden turned neatly and thumped in a shot that produced a fantastic save from Przybek before Tonks saw his rising shot on goal headed over the bar by a defender.
There was still time for one last moment of late drama as Rushall attacked down the right and Waldron sent in a dangerous low centre into the six-yard box where Ben Lund was unable to capitalise under a challenge from Hayden and despite shouts for a penalty from the Rushall bench, the referee was unmoved and blew for full-time soon afterwards.
Stourbridge – Maher, Hayden, Christophorou, McCone, Pierpoint, Forde, Anderson, Broadhurst, Benbow, Thompson-Brown, Mills
Subs – Steele (for Benbow 56 mins), Birch (for Thompson-Brown 61 mins), Tonks (for Broadhurst 78 mins), Brown, Hawk (not used)
Booked – Pierpoint, Birch
Attendance – 913
Updated 12:26 - 10 Jan 2019 by Nigel Gregg