FOR the second week in a row, Lismore Workers have been forced into a late fightback to avoid an upset loss to a spirited Ballina in Far North Coast premier league soccer.
Last week the Redmen turned a 3-2 deficit into a 5-3 win with a big finish, but this time they managed only a 2-all draw after trailing 2-0.
Playing at home, Ballina contained Workers' midfield in the first half, with the Redmen missing key players Kurt Walker and Clint Willoughby.
The Seahorses were missing playmaker Justin Stockham, but the experienced David Betterridge filled his shoes well, setting up their first goal with a deft through ball that allowed Matt Jeffery to chip the goalkeeper.
Betterridge capped a fine game with the second goal midway through the second half but again the Redmen responded to the pressure.
Goals from Bill Latimer and Paddy Kable allowed them to take a point from the game and lift them into third place, sandwiched a point ahead of Thistles and a point behind Richmond Rovers.
"Ballina made it very difficult for us again, and once more we had to find a big finish to get out of jail," Workers coach Scott Collis said.
Ballina coach Chris Layland was left frustrated.
"I thought we had them this time, but Workers never give up," he said.
Only one other game was played in the allocated weekend for washouts, with Lennox Head having a 2-1 away win over Tintenbar-East Ballina in the first meeting of the two clubs in the top flight.
A well-taken goal from Shaun Gillespie had the Sharks leading at the break before Andy Soelkner equalised for Tintenbar.
The turning point came 10 minutes from the end when Sharks striker Jervis Foley was brought down in the box, allowing Paul Kirkland to slot the winning penalty.
The result leaves Tintenbar needing at least a win and a draw from its last three games to have any hope of avoiding relegation.
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