Shepton slip in title chase
Shepton Mallet 1 Shrewton United 1
Shepton Mallet's pursuit of the Toolstation Division 1 title hit a snag on Tuesday night when they were held at home by rock-bottom Shrewton.
The result could easily have been even more embarrassing for Andrew Jones' side, who only earned a share of the spoils in injury time, courtesy of substitute Chris Lane's close-range finish.
Victory for Shepton would have cut the gap to leaders Hengrove Athletic to just a single point, but the table- toppers can now capitalise on their game in hand.
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After an impressive opening ten minutes, the home side suddenly took their foot off the gas and Shrewton quickly caught them napping.
Liam Watson was too casual in possession and allowed Dean Foot to nick the ball and send Ross Bentall down the left channel. He then lifted the ball over Shepton keeper Ed Quelch to give the visitors a 15th-minute lead.
It took the home side almost half an hour to really test Chris Brewer, with the Shrewton stopper forced to save at the second attempt from Matt Cowler.
James Vincent then had a shot kept out by Brewer's legs as the visitors clung to the lead at the break.
Shrewton went close to doubling their advantage in the opening minutes of the second half when Mike Jay was given too much space on the right. His fierce shot was acrobatically saved at full stretch by Quelch.
Shepton piled the pressure on in search of an equaliser but the hosts continued to find it difficult to break down a stubborn Shrewton defence.
Vincent, Watson, Ben Cleverly and Robbie Maggs all had chances in the box but were denied by last-ditch challenges.
As the game moved into injury time, the Shrewton defence was finally breached as the home side got some reward for their efforts.
The visitors failed to clear a cross from the right and substitute Lane forced the ball home to earn a share of the spoils.
Merv's merit marks: E Quelch 7. R Gwinnett 5, L BRYANT 8, J French 5, L Watson 5, M Cowler 7, B Cleverley 6, D Thorne 5, R Maggs 6, J Vincent 5, J Egan 5.
Referee: C Pink 7.
Entertainment value: 7.