Old Toll Bar 1 New Gardeners 1

NEW Gardeners underlined their championship credentials when they ended the100 per cent record of leaders Old Toll Bar.

Toll Bar dropped their first points of the season in a fascinating encounter that either side could have won -- New Gardeners hitting a post late on while Craig Andre missed a second half penalty for Toll Bar.

However, the game did include two fantastic goals that will be hard to beat all season.

With the leaders playing title rivals Darwen Alex next week, the championship charge is just beginning to hot up.

And New Gardeners showed that they can be included in that race after a fine team performance.

John Shorrocks' side were by no means in awe of a very talented Toll Bar side who started well, and danger man Paul Mashiter had a shot cleared off the line after dancing around the keeper.

But New Gardeners soon settled and took the lead with a wonderful goal that was down to Patrick Lauber's exquisite cross field pass and Carl Marshall's deadly finish.

For Marshall took Lauber's 30 yard pass in his stride and rifled an unstoppable shot high past Lee Greenacre.

It was a sweet moment for Marshall who played for Toll Bar last season and whose brother Michael was in the opposition's line-up.

But Toll Bar's reply was equally as impressive.

The competitive Gordon Moore dinked a ball over the New Gardeners defence which Craig Foulds brought down and, in the same movement, slipped the ball past Craig Shorrock.

It was the only time Shorrock was to be beaten as he pulled of a string of fine saves in a very competent display -- which included that penalty save from Andre. Greenacre was also in good form in the Toll Bar goal and made an important save from Daniel Kirby soon after his side got back on level terms.

He then got down quickly at his near post to beat out another firm drive from Carl Marshall.

Carl's brother Michael showed he had an eye for goal and shot narrowly wide after a good run and cross from Ryan Clanford.

Chances were few and far between but Andre had the perfect opportunity to put Toll Bar ahead from the spot but Shorrock saved with his legs.

That prompted a good spell for Toll Bar, and Shorrock saved well from Foulds before the striker fired over the bar after good work by Mashiter and Clanford down the left.

Mashiter then saw his close range header saved by Shorrock.

New Gardeners introduced the pacey Liam Taylor up front as Toll Bar changed to play three at the back when Lee Usbourne made a welcome return to action after his sickening head injury.

In the closing stages both sides went for the kill. Foulds set up substitute Illyas Mohammed but his shot was well saved by Shorrock.

At the other end, Lauber was inches wide when his sweetly struck drive from a well-worked free kick just missed the target.

Toll Bar had a bigger let off two minutes later when Taylor curled in a cross and Lauber hit the post with a close range volley.

Honours shared but now New Gardeners might just think they are in with a chance of the title.