Moors Ladies picked up a point but were left disappointed not to take all three after another high-quality performance against Chester-le-Street United at The Brewery Field on Sunday.
The visitors were sitting top of the pile ahead of kick-off but their ranking did not seem to intimidate Moors who went after them from the off and took an early lead only to be pegged back and held to a draw.
Moors got off to a dream start when top scorer Autumn Colledge swept in a clinical finish from Courtney Mole’s precisely delivered left-wing corner with just three minutes on the clock.
It could have been 2-0 on 14 minutes when Autumn Colledge got into space 25 yards out and decided to let fly but, with the wind behind her, the powerful drive dropped just wide.
The visitors were level three minutes later when Moors failed to clear a ball into the box, and it was drilled low beyond keeper Steph Doonan and into the bottom corner.
Some great one-touch football opened Chester-le-Street up and created an opportunity for Sophie Farrugia, but she dragged a left-footed shot just wide of the post.
There was an incredible moment just after the half-hour when Courtney Mole’s 25-yard free-kick crashed back off the bar, Autumn Colledge then nodded the rebound against the post before getting another header on goal which was well saved.
Autumn Colledge then turned provider when she scampered into space on the left of the penalty area and stood a cross up to the far post where Farrugia could only head over.
Holly Middleton was introduced at the break and she could have announced herself in some style ten minutes into the second half when she found a yard on the right but her low shot was well dealt with by the keeper.
Moors suffered a blow just after the hour when Chloe Wymer was carried off with what looked a bad knee injury which forced boss Shackleton to have to shuffle his pack.
Some good football opened up some space for Courtney Mole to have a go with a curling effort from the edge of the box which fell just the wrong side of the post.
Chester-le-Street remained a real threat on the counterattack though and had a couple of presentable chances to move in front, forcing Moors to defend with determination.
The woodwork came to the visitors’ rescue again on 81 minutes when another Courtney Mole corner caused problems and Hannah Knox headed against the post before Middleton powered a follow-up effort over the top.
The impressive Courtney Mole could have had the final word in the final minute when she sent another effort on goal from distance which looked to have beaten the keeper but flashed past the post.
Full Time: Moors 1 Chester-le-Street 1
Moors: Doonan, O Mole, C Colledge, Welch-Davison, Foster, C Mole, Saunders, A Colledge, Whittle, Seymour, Farrugia.
Subs: Knox, Wymer, Middleton, Hemmingway, Salkeld.