A SECOND-HALF comeback from Olton & West Warwick’s first team helped them claim a memorable last-gasp draw against University of Nottingham.
Olton withstood the treacherous conditions to pick up a point in a 3-3 thriller on the road, courtesy of Harry Sherlock’s late leveller in the Division One North clash.
The student side got into their stride from the first whistle and took the lead after just nine minutes from open play, before adding a second from a penalty corner on 17 minutes.
Left with an uphill battle, Olton fell further behind when a penalty stroke was swept home on the half-hour mark.
A stern talking to at half-time worked wonders, as eight minutes into the second half, the visitors reduced the deficit through Martin Ebbage’s strike from open play.
Then, 16 minutes later, Sam Samak marked his return to the Olton set-up in style with a fine finish to bring his side back in contention.
With time running out, Sherlock was on hand to save the day and complete the stunning comeback when blasting a darting shot into the net from a penalty corner.
The result keeps Olton in fifth place, ahead of a double header against City of Peterborough on Saturday and away to Loughborough Students on Sunday (both 2pm).
Meanwhile, the ladies’ first XI were out of action for the second week running, this time with Storm Dennis at fault.
A home game against Gloucester City, who are eighth, presents the fourth-placed ladies with an ideal task on their return to life in Division One North in the Investec League on Saturday (noon).
David Brough was at the double to send Olton’s mixed XI through to the next round of the Mixed Cup after a 4-1 victory over Shrewsbury, while the Seconds saw off Rugby & East Warwickshire Seconds 5-1 to remain top of Midlands Division Two.
The Thirds overcame Stourport Seconds 5-0 to maintain their push for a top-two finish in West Midlands Premier, a feat that was matched by the Fourths in a crushing 6-1 away win against Solihull Blossomfield Seconds. As a result, Olton stay seven-points clear in South West Division One.
A 3-3 draw with Bridgnorth Fifths has kept second-placed Olton & WW’s fifth XI in the Division Three title race, who are currently four adrift of leaders Edgbaston Sixths.
In South East Division Four, the Sixths edged past Stratford Sixths 3-1 to go nine points clear of Solihull Blossomfield Fourths.
Bloss’ title challenge suffered a heavy blow after slipping to a 5-1 defeat on the road at Sutton Coldfield Seconds, despite the scoreline remaining deadlocked at the break after a goalless opening.
The two sides were well-matched in the first half, but after the hosts stepped up to take the game to the visitors, Solihull had no reply.
Conceding four goals in the space of ten minutes midway through the half, a fifth for Sutton Coldfield added further misery before Alex Bevins gave Bloss scant consolation with a fine finish late on.
In Division One of the Midland League, Blossomfield Ladies were leapfrogged by Burton after a 4-0 away reverse.
Despite holding the upper hand in terms of chances and possession, Solihull fell behind against the run of play which drastically changed the course of the game.
Seeking an immediate response, a second Burton goal before the break hindered Bloss’ resolve, leading the hosts to strike twice more in the second half to complete the smash and grab.
As a result, Solihull drop to seventh.
Bloss Thirds made amends with a fine 4-0 triumph away to Sutton Coldfield Sevenths in Division Four of the Warwickshire Women’s League.
Becky Shoreson got the scoring underway minutes after the first whistle, while Sian Musgreave-Spiby and Paula Gowing struck later in the half.
While the second half was very much a non-event due to heavy rain, Mandy Bevins still managed to add a fourth from a short corner, keeping Bloss in third.