A WET and decidedly boggy Crabtree Park greeted Wick and Mile Oak for this top-of-the-table clash on Tuesday evening, and honours were shared between the two sides in a 1-1 draw that offered little in the way of goalmouth action.
The visitors started by far the brighter and should have worked 16-year-old Wick keeper Matt Neocleous as early as the third minute as veteran striker Tony Burnett, making his 420th appearance for Oak, robbed Ricky Reagan and crossed for Aaron Ransom, who headed well over the bar.
Burnett then forced Neocleous to save with his feet on 28 minutes, having been played in by Lloyd Skinner.
Mile Oak had more pressure without fashioning any real clear-cut chances until the 38th minute when Kieran Howard’s shot from the edge of the box was deflected past the helpless Neocleous to put Oak deservedly a goal to the good.
This spurred Wick on and they had a chance to level things with just three minutes to go until the break, but Gregg Jordan’s shot lacked sufficient power to trouble Aaron Stenning.
Wick perked up after half-time and the contest became more even, with the home side’s Michael Asare predictably being the man to level the scores after 58 minutes when he latched onto a loose ball following a corner and fired home from a tight angle.
Stenning was forced to make a save at full stretch from Jordan just four minutes later but it was Neocleous who took the man-of-the-match plaudits as he produced a fine double save to spare George Hotston’s blushes as the defender tried to cut out a Ransom cross, and then the Wick stopper somehow kept out Skinner’s follow-up.
The game ended in slightly bizarre fashion as referee Neal Saxton blew up with several minutes remaining on the clock, presumably feeling that he had seen enough and that both sides deserved a share of the spoils.
Wick boss Richard Towers said “We huffed and puffed in the first half but weren’t really at the races, to be honest, but in the second half we improved and certainly deserved a point out of the game.”
On Saturday, Wick beat Steyning Town 4-1.
Wick took a 2-0 lead inside 11 minutes against Steyning and led 3-0 at half-time.
A long punt upfield on five minutes caught the Town back four flat-footed and Callum Cutler ran through to tuck the ball away.
Michael Asare added the second five minutes later when he scrambled home from close range, before Gregg Jordan swept home the third.
Cutler ended the game as a contest five minutes after the restart with a powerful finish, before Adam Burton netted a consolation strike for Town with 20 minutes remaining when he blasted home a penalty.
WICK v Mile Oak: Neocleous; Speller, Hotston, Danny Towers, Reagan; Asare, Jones, S.Towers, Ford; Jordan, Cutler. Subs: Miller (D.Towers 69), Cox, Dave Towers, Playle-Howard, C.Twusami.
v Steyning: Neocleous; Speller, Hotston, Dave Towers, Cox; Asare, S.Towers, Cutler, Reagan; Jordan, Playle-Howard. Subs: Miller (Dave Towers 55), Johnson (Cox 90), Stairs.