All square at The Heights
By Mark Rozzier
Subs Sam Guze and Liam Wilson star as United recover from a second half two goal deficit.
On the last Saturday of 2018, Woodley showed good character to come from two goals behind after sixty five minutes to share the points and but for a goal line clearance in the fourth minute of stoppage time could have nicked a win.
Kicking with the wind, the hosts enjoyed the better of the opening fifteen minutes looking dangerous in attack but apart from Chace Jewell clearing off the goal line following a corner, did not get a shot on target and twice saw Josh Beech curl shots outside of Tom Bryant’s right upright.
Although Freddie Barron and Max Laschok had half chances it was not until the eighteenth minute that Woodley put together their first meaningful attack that saw Harry Hawkins shoot narrowly wide from the edge of the penalty area and three minutes later Barron had a shot blocked for a corner kick.
With United playing higher up the pitch the game became more even although Bryant was called upon to save from Jake McLaughlin after twenty four minutes. Leon Mannion and Jewell both saw their shots go wide while Hawkins, when in the opponents penalty area could not get the ball from out under his feet to make a shot.
The last chance of the half was ten minutes from the break when Adam Barnard’s free kick evade the on rushing Woodley attack and was comfortably gathered by home keeper Craig Griffiths.
Milton started the second half strongly with Woodley again struggling to get the ball out of their own half. Bryant made an outstanding save four minutes into the half which Jewell cleared but two minutes later Bryant could not prevent James Large opening the scoring despite another fine save and parry of the ball.
Woodley responded with Ryan Alexander heading straight at Griffiths following a corner but were fortunate in the fifty seventh minute when Bryant again parried a shot and in making a challenge for the loose ball collided with a Milton forward who was adjudged to have become active and off side with Woodley awarded a free kick rather than the home team a penalty.
Sam Robinson fired wide but a minute later after sixty five minutes Milton doubled their lead when Jack White fired in from close range following a corner.
However, rather than seek to further press home their advantage it was Woodley who took the initiative and reduced the lead two minutes later when good play by substitute Sam Guze saw him pass to Mannion to slot home pass Griffiths.
Guze was becoming increasingly influential while Ed Thomas was enjoying success on the right flank and was dangerous both in taking on the defence and his crossing. It was Guze and Edwards play that saw Toby Briggs have an effort saved by Griffiths with ten minutes remaining while Guze headed a Edwards cross over the bar four minutes later.
Defending a Milton free kick on the edge of their own penalty area, the ball fell to Mannion on the left wing. The forwards run to the half way line and pass resulted in Guze flicking the ball onto another sub Liam Wilson who out sprinted the home defence from ten yards in their half to shot low to the advancing Griffiths right to level the scores with four minutes of normal time remaining.
Having gained the momentum Woodley went looking for the win but a goal line clearance from Wilson’s close range shot and Briggs firing wide in the fifth minute of stoppage time saw the points shared and Woodley now on a run of only one league defeat in seven outings.
Bryant, Malone, Hagger, Hawkins (Wilson), Alexander, Barnard, Barron, Thomas, Mannion, Laschok (Briggs), Jewell (Guze)