Michael Bulmer headed home a late equaliser as Easington Colliery were forced to settle for a 2-2 draw with Esh Winning on Saturday afternoon.
Max Stoker fired the visitors into a fourth-minute lead but Easington responded through Liam Adamson in the 14th minute. Callum Boakes regained Esh’s lead on the stroke of half-time only for Bulmer’s header to make it honours even.
Easington manager Paul Frame made two changes from last week’s defeat to Team Northumbria with the suspended Luke Page and Ethan Anderson giving way for Kyle Donaldson and Dylan Nesbitt.
Despite a couple of early balls into the penalty area, it was Esh Winning who broke the deadlock in only the fourth minute. A dinked ball over the top found Stoker and his fine control meant he fired a half-volley past Donaldson and into the net.
The Colliers responded well to falling behind and in the 13th minute, Jack Pounder closed down a goal-kick which crashed off the former Ryhope CW man – but the goalkeeper was relieved to see the ball bounce wide.
Good football from the hosts saw Adamson and the Green Army level just before the quarter of an hour mark. The goalscorer linked up well with David Paul and Pounder to play a ball across to Aaron Croft, who cut in and pulled the ball across goal where Adamson was able to poke home to level the scoreline.
Paul could have had a chance when Adamson found him in the 18th minute but he was essentially closed down and stopped while Stoker sent a volley well wide at the other end.
Easington were seeing a greater deal of possession but weren’t creating any real chances and they could have been punished 10 minutes before the break when Boakes fired a long-range effort only narrowly over the crossbar.
Esh’s lead was regained a minute before half-time when Easington failed to deal with a cross, meaning Nick Marley was able to poke the ball to Boakes and he slotted home.
The first half simply wasn’t good enough from an Easington perspective and the Colliers would need a much improved second half to take the points.
And the Colliers should have been level a matter of seconds into the second half when Peter Jones’ perfectly timed run got onto Adamson’s through ball but he could only drag wide when finding the target should have been a minimum.
Easington had massive shouts for a penalty turned down when a clumsy challenge from the Esh Winning goalkeeper brought down Paul after he had managed to get a shot away, but the referee turned away the appeals.
Following a quiet period, an Easington corner saw Paul lay the ball off to Reece Kenney but he could only fire narrowly wide.
Easington could have pulled level in fine style 12 minutes from time when Kenney’s long ball was brought down by Paul and his bicycle kick forced Mark Fish into a save.
Matthew Soulsby fired a free-kick straight into the wall for The Stags as they looked to close the game out but it wasn’t to be their day as Bulmer snatched two points from them three minutes from time. The former Sunderland Oddies man left his marker at the near post to head a Croft corner into the far corner with the goalkeeper routed to the spot.
And, it could have yet been worse for the visitors as Easington piled the pressure on the Esh defence late on. Lewis Turnbull’s long throw caused chaos in the Esh Winning penalty area but they were relieved when Paul stabbed the ball wide.
Seconds later, Paul rose to meet a Croft free-kick but this time Fish caught the forward’s header.
The visitors were hanging by a thread when Turnbull’s cross was flicked on by Paul to find Adamson but his header was superbly tipped over the crossbar by Fish.
However, the visitors held out and claimed a well-deserved point.
Full-time: Easington Colliery 2-2 Esh Winning.
Easington Colliery: Donaldson, Freeman (Bulmer, 63′), Nesbitt, Pearson (Turnbull, 59′) (c), Ball, Croft, Kenney, Jones, Paul, Pounder, Adamson
Unused sub: Anderson
Esh Winning: Fish, Young (Latham, 65′), Hird, Stoker (c), Huntley, Wilkinson, Mordue, Arnott (Clarkson, 75′), Marley, Soulsby, Boakes (Stephenson, 78′)
Unused subs: Chester, Stewart