Manchester Central’s title aspirations were damaged after a hardworking Dukinfield Town denied them with a late penalty.
A victory would have seen Paul McGuire’s side just nine points behind league leaders Hindsford, with three games in hand.
Central looked like their lively selves after a pinpoint corner from Dan Burns was nodded back by Elvis Amoakwa to the inform Josh Frith to make it one nil within 10 minutes.
It could have been two nil just a few moments later. Joe Darnell floated a free kick into Marcello Ahrin who nodded the ball just inches over the bar in the 14th minute.
The hosts were looking for a way back into the game and came close after number 7 cut inside from the right and shot but Ben Jupp was on-hand to save comfortably in the 16th minute.
Just minutes later, Dukinfield Town looked certain to score as number 9 got on the end of a loose ball but managed to blaze his shot high and wide from six yards out.
It was a scrappy game with both teams unable to control the tempo in the windy conditions. Central came in at half time knowing they had a lot more to offer.
Their lead was almost doubled as Marcello Ahrin flicked a ball over for Josh Frith who saw his header go just over the bar in the 48th minute.
Dukinfield Town continued to apply the pressure and almost saw it pay dividends in the 51st minute. A whipped free kick was glanced on by number 11 and once again, floated just over the bar.
Central made three changes between the 58th and 68th minute with Clinton Agho, Boic Bacana and Zak Bell replacing Mauro Mendes, Buba Sakiliba and Josh Frith.
Dukinfield Town continued to grow into the game as every minute went by. It would be in the 75th minute as Elvis Amoakwa, despite having a very solid game, went in rashly to give away a penalty. Ben Jupp almost got his hands to it but it was not to be as Dukinfield Town drew the scores level.
Three points almost became zero in a matter of minutes as Phillip Cooper’s side looked for the winner. Paul Riley denied the hosts with a great goal line clearance in the 79th minute. Ben Jupp kept the unbeaten run going with a fine one-on-one save in the 88th minute.
It was a frustrating game for Manchester Central as they struggled to control the game against a resolute Dukinfield Town side who probably felt unlucky not to get three points after Ben Jupp’s fantastic save late on.
Manchester Central host Heyside in the quarter final of the Gilgryst Cup on Saturday – here is Paul McGuire’s thoughts:
“It’s probably is a good time to have a break from the league. The only frustration for us is that we have got games in hand and now next week we will have even more games in hand.
“We will be looking forward to a cup, we have been in the Murray Trophy final the last two seasons on the bounce. We would like to get in the Gilgryst final but Heyside will be a tough test.”
🎙POST MATCH REACTION | MANAGER PAUL MCGUIRE |
Dukinfield 1 – 1 Central ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/PY05WBtpqF
— Manchester Central FC (@mcrcentralfc) February 16, 2019