Source: Stockport Express
FC United 1
Cheadle Town 1
AN unlikely hero played a major part in helping Cheadle Town to gain a creditable draw at Gigg Lane against champions-elect FC United on Saturday.
Eighteen-year-old defender Ashley Stokes came off the bench to take over in the Cheadle goal after Troy Whittle was forced to leave the field through injury after 22 minutes.
Whittle was injured when desperately scrambling to keep out a long-range effort from Rory Patterson after six minutes, and bravely carried on until he had to be replaced.
Cheadle deserved their point in an exciting, incident-packed game, but Stokes, playing his first competitive game between the sticks, earned the applause from a crowd of 2,713, the third highest of the day in non-league soccer.
It was Cheadle who took the lead after 16 minutes when Dean Martin played in Aaron Riley who pounced to poke the ball into the net.
This stunned United into action, but defensively Cheadle held all the aces.
United manager Karl Marginson brought on three fresh forwards after the break in an effort to get his team back into the game.
Stokes, however, had other ideas and twice bravely came out to block shots on goal.
A rasping shot from Simon Carden was superbly tipped over the crossbar, but in the 62nd minute United equalised when Chris Simms headed home from close range.
Cheadle had late chances to snatch a winner with Tosin Onibudo causing the home defence all kinds of problems.
However, it was at the other end where hero Stokes kept United at bay and he was twice treated for injury as he ended the game covered in mud, blood and glory.
Tonight [Wednesday] Cheadle are at home to Ashton Town, kick-off 7.45pm.
On Saturday Town travel to play Blackpool Mechanics.
First published by the Stockport Express