Hinckley AFC and Nuneaton Griff shared the spoils at The Pingles Stadium as their Bank Holiday Monday derby ended 1-1.
In front of a bumper crowd of 382, the pitch did the game no favours as a spectacle and Griff led at the break through a Tom Bates penalty.
AFC were much improved after half time, though, and despite levelling through Sam Agar, they couldn’t find the elusive winning goal.
Carl Abbott made two changes to the side that beat Racing Club Warwick on Saturday, with Darious Darkin and Peter Williams coming into the side.
In truth, there was little action in the first half as the sides struggled to get to grips with the bobbles on the surface, but Hinckley went close just seven minutes in. Lee Butler shifted the ball onto his right foot 25 yards out, and with Andy Needham beaten, his effort cannoned off the bar.
At the other end, Haydn Whitcombe twice had to be alert to rush off his line, first to deny Harry Walker-Donovan a chance, then to gather after Jack Colley’s poor touch took away his sight of goal.
But midway through the first half, Hinckley’s lapse in concentration gave Griff the lead. A poor clearance fell straight to Josh Willis on the edge of the box, and he was brought down by James Williams’ clumsy challenge. Bates stepped up and sent Whitcombe the wrong way from twelve yards.
Only in the last five minutes of the half did Hinckley threaten again. Peter Williams forced Needham into a fingertip save after a neat move, before Agar glanced wide with a free header ten yards out as the half drew to a close.
After the break, Hinckley dominated possession but Needham still remained untested for large spells.
The closest Hinckley came to levelling early on in the half was when Peter Williams intercepted a loose pass and broke forward down the left hand side. He crossed low for Agar, but after turning neatly the striker fired wide of the post when he should have scored.
Then, Whitcombe twice prevented Griff doubling their lead, saving low first from Jack Colley after he cut in from the right, and then from Chris Tullin after a neat move saw him through on goal.
But after Hinckley introduced pace and width in the form of Isaac Cooper and Rico Taylor, the rest of the game was one way traffic.
Griff were camped in their own half trying to preserve their lead, and only a last ditch challenge denied Cooper a tap in at the far post.
And with fourteen minutes to play, Hinckley were back on level terms. A good move down the left involving Cooper, Darious Darkin and Lee Thomas saw a ball come in from the left, which Agar controlled on his chest and finished well from an acute angle.
The momentum was now with Hinckley, and shortly afterwards they should have turned the game on its head. Seal met Thomas’ low cross and should have hit it first time, but took a touch which allowed Ryan Millerchip to close him down.
And although Hinckley’s control of possession was commanding, the only chance they had after that was when Needham comfortably dealt with Taylor’s left footed shot, and the sides had to settle for a point apiece.
Nuneaton: Andy Needham, Darren Hutchinson (Sam Reader 80), Ryan Aston, Ben Scoffham, Ryan Millerchip, Josh Willis, Harry Walker-Donovan, Chris Tullin, Tom Bates (Danny Taylor 74), Tyson Knight, Jack Colley (Ryan Slinn 66). Subs not used: John Russell, Dale Panter
Goal: Tom Bates (25 pen)
Hinckley: Haydn Whitcombe, James Williams, Lee Thomas, Ryan Paddock, Mike Harvey, Mark Williams (Isaac Cooper 57), Lee Butler, Darious Darkin, Sam Agar, Ryan Seal, Peter Williams (Rico Taylor 74). Sub not used: Jean Kalenda
Goal: Sam Agar (76)