YARDLEY produced without doubt their best performance of the season to beat draw 2-2 at home to league leaders Stafford in the West Midland Division One.
After last week’s drubbing, Yardley knew they were in for a match against a Stafford side who were the top scorers in the league and who had beaten Yardley 11-0 in the previous meeting between the two sides.
However, Yardley rose to the occasion brilliantly and throughout the game were never overawed by their high flying visitors.
As expected, Stafford settled into an early and confident passing game but their attacks were well defended by the hosts.
Once Yardley realised they were not being over-run they raised their own game and even shocked their visitors by taking the lead after ten minutes.
Gavin Hetherington’s shot from a short corner was probably going just wide, but the ever alert Alex Makepeace got a touch to turn the ball into the goal.
The hosts were certainly holding their own during this first half with the whole defence responding brilliantly to the task in hand.
Stafford were trying every which way to get back into the game, occasionally forcing keeper Neal Makepeace into some spectacular saves.
Eventually, just before half time they did manage an equalizer when a long corner hit created half a chance that led to a crisp shot on goal to level the scores.
Stafford began the second half in determined style but, as throughout the first half, Yardley were holding firm and again Makepeace was called upon to make some crucial saves.
Stafford were eventually able to exert a period of pressure and able to grab the lead
But Yardley’s heads remained high and during the final quarter of the game managed to apply some of their own pressure which lead to a deserved equaliser.
A pass in from the right fell to top scorer Noor Zaman who made no mistake to somewhat unexpectedly level the scores. Yardley tried to push on to grab a winner but their visitors too were putting everything into their final efforts.
In the end Yardley were delighted with their performance in holding their high-flying visitors, knocking them off the top perch and banishing any nightmares lingering from their earlier encounter.
As a result of events in the league Yardley now have a two week break before their final home game, against new league leaders, West Bromwich.