Sherwood Colliery 2 - 2 Bilborough Town
Smith (20) Taylor (75)
Topliss (63) (Pen) Kane (81)
Bilborough's pre-season campaign finally got underway on Wednesday night in a hard-fought draw against strong CML outfit, Sherwood Colliery.
Playing at the neutral ground of Bilsthorpe's Eakring Road, both teams featured a host of new faces and set up to chop and change as the game went on.
Sherwood had varying amounts of success down their right flank and, on the 20-minute mark, a misplaced back-pass from Hayes left Shaun Smith through on goal to superbly tuck away into the bottom corner to make it 1-0.
The pre-season rust seemed to show and Town were struggling to find their feet as Sherwood continued to keep the ball in the middle of the park.
For the remainder of the first half. it was a battle in the middle with Perkins, Croft and Palmer doing their best to quell the pressure, resulting in Sherwood mostly resorting to shots around the edge of the box which were gratefully collected by Ivanov.
Town came out in the 2nd half and it was clear that they had a new game plan of letting Sherwood keep the ball in their own half, rather than chasing them down.
This gave the Bilborough defence a lot more protection, with Palmer sitting just in front and allowing Hayes and Street to play out from the back.
Sherwood's pace down the flanks was still causing problems for Town though, and McKeag and Morgan had their work cut out to try and stop it.
Another misplaced pass, this time from Palmer, left Smith in on goal again on the hour mark. With Hayes bearing down on him, Smith took the ball round Ivanov who clipped his ankle with his hand and brought him down for a penalty.
Topliss stepped up and duly despatched to make it 2-0 to Sherwood.
Bilborough then gave themselves a lifeline when a corner from Stewart found its way through the crowd and fell to Taylor who lashed home from six yards to make it 2-1 with 15 minutes left.
Cross and Croft were now running the show in the middle of the park and, after an impressive run from Cross, Stewart got his 2nd assist of the game when he whipped the ball into Kane.
Kane sent his glancing header over the 'keeper to grab his first goal of the campaign and the deserved equaliser for Town.
It could have been more for Town when an exquisite pass from Palmer fell to Taylor, who headed the ball over the oncoming 'keeper into the top corner, only for it to be ruled offside.
Sherwood came back in the last five minutes with a spell of pressure but Street did well to claim any loose balls and Ivanov remained strong between the sticks. They almost grabbed a winner of their own when Topliss was through on goal but for a last-ditch tackle from Hayes to deny him in the last bit of open play.