Aire Valley’s positive start to the season continued with a hard fought draw away at Otley Tavern.
After trailing in the first half to a sumptuous strike, Valley roared back in the second period and were unlucky not to take all 3 points.
The early exchanges of the game were relatively even, the hosts endured plenty of possession but failed to carve out any clear cut chances. It was in fact the visitors who carried the stronger threat going forward and the home goalkeeper was called in action on numerous occasions. Adam Kay was causing a constant threat and he tricked his way past a couple of players before seeing his low shot pushed away. Moments later Chris Corry bore down on goal but he was also denied by the onrushing Otley goalkeeper.
With the game in the balance, the home side took the lead in spectacular fashion. There seemed little danger but the Otley midfielder unleashed an audacious effort from 25 yards, and although Valley keeper Chris Child got a hand to it, he couldn’t prevent the effort from flying high into the net.
The hosts used that strike as a springboard and began to put the visitors under the cosh for the remainder of the first half, but the Aire Valley defence held firm without any further significant scares.
The early stages of the second half started off as the first half finished, but again, for all their possession, Otley failed to create any worthwhile chances.
The visitors began to grow into the game more and more, and with that, chances were being created on a frequent basis. Kay & Adam Griffin were working well together on the left hand side and they combined to great effect to put Hamza Darr through, he got to the byline and squared the ball for Corry who saw his shot blocked.
Valley continued to knock on the door and it finally opened in the 67th minute when Kay picked out Andrew Robinson, his driving run into the penalty area was halted in unceremonious fashion giving the visitors the chance to draw level.
Darr was given the mantle of penalty duties and he made no mistake, firing into the bottom left hand corner.
The dominance from the away side continued as they pressed for a winner and after more fantastic play involving Tom Conneely, Kay and Robinson, Darr’s deep cross was met by Tom Pett, whose header beat the goalkeeper all ends up but crashed back off the post and to safety.
The chances were coming thick and fast and with virtually the last kick of the game Chris Lee took aim from 35 yards and his arrow of a shot whistled inches over the bar.
It wasn’t to be for Valley in the end, and both sides shared a point a piece.
Otley Tavern 1-1 Aire Valley FC
By J. Luke Hindle