Evo-Stik Southern League Division One South & West: Yate Town 1 Bishop's Cleeve 1
YATE were made to pay for their missed chances as an injury time goal by former Mangotsfield United defender Alex Hoyle rescued a point for Bishop's Cleeve to leave them bottom of the table.
The Bluebells only had Ollie Barnes' seventh minute penalty to show for their dominance, but it will be equally frustrating that they failed to hold on for a first clean sheet in the league since March 27 - a 1-0 win over Paulton - against a side who offered little as an attacking threat until late on.
While finding a replacement for departed top goalscorer Tom Knighton is the most pressing matter for Yate manager Rob Cousins, his side will also have to learn to grind out results from games like this if they are going to haul themselves away from the bottom of the table.
Midfielder Geraint Bater has been brought in to help give Yate a tougher streak and he certainly offered some extra bite in midfield, while fellow league debutant Tom Seery gave a committed display at right back.
Yate were gifted an early lead when Bishop's Cleeve made a hash of clearing their lines before Michael Davis' flailing leg brought down Scott Thomas in the box, giving the referee no choice but to point to the penalty spot. For the second game in succession Barnes stepped up to the spot and confidently blasted the ball into the net past goalkeeper James Nortei's outstretched left hand.
The hosts continued in the ascendancy but failed to seriously test Nortei, Mike Bryant's header from Jake Cox's corner and a 25-yard free kick from Cox landing safely into the goalkeeper's grateful arms.
Matt Groves was millimetres away from doubling Yate's lead as he glided past three players on a superb run into the box before his shot came back off the post.
Cleeve come more into the game in the latter stages of the first half and it needed a good challenge by Tom Warren to deny Matt Lidiard a goalscoring opportunity in the box after Jon Crowford pulled the ball back from the right byline.
Yate moved up a couple of gears after the break, though, and a brilliant piece of play by Bater saw him use quick feet to beat four players as he ran into the box before dragging his shot wide with just Nortei to beat.
Cleeve almost shot themselves in the foot when, in a desperate attempt to save a back-pass by Jake Lee from going for a corner, Nortei slid to keep the ball in play and then made a lunging tackle on Bryant, only for the ball to fall into the path of Cox. However, the winger dithered too long, allowing the goalkeeper to recover and save his tame shot.
Barnes floated in two lovely free kicks, the first from the right byline headed wastefully over by Thomas at the far post before one on the other side was nodded just wide by Bryant via a deflection.
There was an element of panic as Yate retreated further back towards the end and Lee Davis gave a warning with a strike from 25 yards that struck the post before Hoyle equalised less than a minute later with an even more speculative effort when he cut in from the left and hit a looping shot over Dempsey, which this time dropped into the net from the woodwork.
Two minutes earlier, Yate could have wrapped the game up as substitute Adnan Hiroli burst clear but his lay-off went behind Meaker and was hit wide by Harley Purnell. Hiroli also had a chance to grab a late winner, but headed over from Matt Groves' corner.
Yate Town: Dempsey, Warren (c), Barnes, Purnell, Thomas, Bater, Groves, Seery, Meaker, Bryant (Hiroli 84) Cox. Subs not used: Wring, Harmer, Cousins, Freeman.
Ref: Mr C Husband.
Gazette star man: Geraint Bater - Won several tackles and showed class on the ball.
- Yate visit Bridgwater Town on Tuesday night.