It was also the Cobras’ first clean sheet for 12 months and an all-round team effort ensured their stood firm against everything the home side threw at them.
Defensive frailties have been at the root of many of Clipstone’s problems this season and they had conceded 93 goals in 24 games before this match. However central defenders Charlie Taylor and debutant Jeremiah Owusu were both excellent in this game and their partnership looks to hold great promise for the future.
However it required two great late saves from ‘keeper Levi Owen to secure the justly deserved point. The first came with eight minutes remaining when an effort from Tom Elis was heading into the top corner until Owen’s out-stretched hand diverted past the post. His second stop came with a minute remaining when he made an excellent point blank save to keep out a close range effort with one hand from Adam Baskerville.
Cobras’ boss Jamie Hardwick was understandably delighted saying after the match “It’s fantastic. I gave the young lads the challenge today of keeping a clean sheet. And 90 per cent of their chances were only long range and Levi (Owen) was only tested twice and he made two good saves. Overall our defensive performance was brilliant”.
The home side had more possession, particularly in the first period, but clear cut chances were at a premium for both sides. There as an early effort for Cobras’ skipper Charlie Taylor who got his head to a Luke Morgan free kick went wide and at the other end Owen tipped an acrobatic effort from Adam Baskerville over the bar.
The young Cobras side were guilty of giving the ball away too cheaply on too many occasions in the first 45 minutes and from one such instance Owen had to be alert to keep out an effort from Cameron Johnson from the edge of the box. Clipstone’s best effort of the game came in the 53rd minute when a Luke Morgan free kick looked to be heading in until ‘keeper Gareth Briggs got a hand to it to turn it round the post.
A few minutes later Johnson had another chance for Staveley when a ran into the area but his shot was wide of the far post. Morgan, who was the most effective of the Cobras’ midfield in this game, then played a long ball that put Tom Gledhill though but the winger was denied a shooting opportunity by a great last ditch challenge by the experienced Ricky Hanson. After Owen’s goalkeeping heroics, Clipstone almost grabbed all three points at the death when a long ball from Morgan tried to pick out Charlie Hardwick who had made an excellent forward run but the ball was just cut out before it reached the Cobras’ number ten.
However few would begrudge the visitors this result which was no more than this excellent team performance deserved. Clipstone now make the long trip to Pickering for their next league game on Saturday 27th January, 3pm.