A determined performance earned Newark a deserved draw as they collected their first home point of the season.

They ended a run of 14 consecutive defeats after coming from behind against fourth-placed AFC Bentley in the Central Midlands League North.

Newark’s poor run of form looked set to continue when they conceded a goal in the third minute.

A cross from the left was headed in by Bentley’s Alex Irwin, who was given too much room by the defence.

Newark’s keeper Luke Sheldon was signed shortly before kick-off and he impressed with three vital first-half saves.

Kyle Nicholson tested Bentley’s keeper with a curling free-kick from the right-hand side — forcing him to tip the ball over the bar.

The resulting corner was met by Ian Wade who planted his header strongly past the keeper.

Ian Wade
Ian Wade

Bentley pushed forward after half-time in search of a second, with Josh Paskall striking a fierce shot against the bar.

Wade enjoyed an excellent game in defence, and denied Bentley a second with a goal-line clearance after Sheldon had been beaten to a long ball.

Substitute Josh Johnson nearly gave Newark the lead as his strike from outside the area was pushed away by the keeper. Thomas Johnson saw his follow-up effort blocked.

The final 20 minutes were played at a frantic pace with Newark battling hard in response to a sustained period of Bentley pressure.

A close-range header flashed wide of the post with just five minutes left for the visitors, and the Blues held firm for an encouraging draw.

Saturday’s match was the first time Newark have conceded fewer than four goals in a game since the middle of September.

They remain at the foot of the table and face another tough fixture at home to Tideswell United on Saturday.