GRAEME Armstrong’s 12th goal of the season deep into stoppage time rescued a deserved point for Whitby Town against an obdurate Buxton outfit on Wednesday night.
It looked like being one of those nights for the Blues when they fell behind to a 75th minute penalty and looked increasingly unlikely to score as time ticked on.
But with time almost up, Whitby grabbed a share of the spoils from their final attack when Armstrong - known as Army - prodded home from close range.
Reflecting on his last-gasp finish, Armstrong told the Whitby Gazette: “It was an amazing feeling.
“To be honest, I felt I probably had my worst game for a long time, it was a bit of a scramble, but you’ll take it at the end.
“It’s a game we pretty much dominated, really, I thought it would’ve been disappointing to come away without a point.”
On the visitors’ controversial second-half spot-kick, Armstrong added: “I think Macca just got there a little bit later than the lad - he made the most of it - but I thought it was a penalty.”
The first half was finely balanced if not exactly brimming with clear chances.
Craig Farrell went close for the Blues just five minutes in but keeper Andrew Mills blocked the ex-Blyth man’s shot with his legs after Tom Portas cut the ball back.
Buxton took 25 minutes to produce their first effort of the night when Lee Morris’ shot stung the palms of Whitby stopper Nick Liversedge. The Derbyshire side got the ball in the net moments later when Matt Thornhill slotted home from close range but the linesman flagged him offside to give Whitby a reprieve.
Armstrong signalled his intent by powering into the box and when Mills smothered the ball at his feet, Shane Henry’s follow-up was blocked on the line.
As the sides emerged from the half-time break to plunging temperatures, Farrell could have warmed the cockles of the home crowd when he was put through almost immediately, but a heavy first touch allowed Mills to gratefully gather.
Thornhill spurned a great chance for the visitors when he nodded wide from close range but they were soon given the chance to take the lead after Whitby’s Dave McTiernan was unluckily penalised for a foul – and Morris clinically despatched the spot-kick to put Buxton ahead with 15 minutes left.
The well-organised visitors managed to repel all the Blues could throw at them until a lucky break saw Armstrong net with almost the last kick of the game to earn a dramatic point, with Buxton substitute Kieron Lugsden dismissed amid the chaos.
Second-bottom Stocksbridge provide the opposition tomorrow, with the Seasiders looking for their second double of the season, after seeing the former Steelworks side off 3-2, back in October.
Armstrong is cautiously optimistic.
“It’s an opportunity,” he said.
“We’re not going to take it lightly, but we know where they are in the league.
“If we’re looking to push off towards the play-offs and push up the league, they’re the type of games we should be winning.
“We won’t be taking it lightly, because we know, on any given day, they can up their performance and give us a game.”
Whitby Town: Liversedge, Hassan, Robinson (c), Burgess, Purewal, McTiernan, Portas, Henry, Farrell, Armstrong, Mulligan (Snaith HT).
* more picture from the game in this Friday’s Whitby Gazette