Following a pulsating 90 minutes at The Smithy Row, Hurst Green Youth had to settle for a hard fought point against fellow mid-table opponents, Lytham Town. Before the match, manager Alex Young had asked his players to perform with the same intensity as they had done the previous week at Bolton. He wasn’t to be disappointed as the Green opened brightly, with the new strike partnership of Harri Yerkess and Dec Barnes linking up well and showing some real potential, asking several questions of the Lytham defence.
Indeed Yerkess can consider himself most unfortunate as on at least two occasions his pace took him beyond the last Lytham defender, only to be denied a run on goal by what appeared to be a couple of hairline off side decisions. The Green almost broke the deadlock after 20 minutes as a measured pass from Ollie Shipston found Barnes powering into the box but unfortunately for the Green, Barnes missed the target by inches as his shot whistled into the side netting. However, the Green certainly weren’t having it all their own way, as at the other end Keeper Ben Armer had to be at his very best pulling off a couple of superb reflex saves to prevent the visitors from taking the lead.
The Green finally broke the deadlock after 30 minutes, following some fine wing play from Matt Farnsworth the ball ricocheted into no man’s land 10 yards out and the fearless Yerkess was first to react as he bravely beat the Lytham keeper to steer the ball into the unguarded net. HT 1-0.
During the opening period of the second half, the Green were disrupted by a couple of injuries to key defenders. Lytham began to seize the initiative and once again Green had to thank keeper Armer who produced a virtuoso performance, producing at least three top drawer saves to protect the Green’s 1-0 lead. Unfortunately, the inevitable equaliser arrived after 65 minutes following some slack defending at a free kick, although credit must be given to the Lytham striker for a clinical finish into the top corner from the edge of the box.
Far from being downbeat, the Green lads responded magnificently and dominated the final quarter of the game. Substitute Tom Reede, playing out on the left wing, was to play a pivotal role during this period and the home support were gobsmacked as the referee waved away appeals for what appeared to be a stone wall penalty, as Reede was blatantly tripped by Lytham’s tormented right back as he exploded into the box. In the last five minutes, the enigmatic Reede was further denied by two magnificent reflex saves from the Lytham keeper whilst in injury time Shipston blazed wide from penalty spot range, following more fine work from Reede. FT 1-1.
Man of the match: Ben Armer.