SUBSTITUTE Joe Duckworth salvaged a share of the spoils for Winsford United late during a chaotic meeting with Squires Gate.

His was the sixth goal of an incident-laden game that saw referee Neil Evans send off three players, including Sean Sherwood on his first appearance since returning to Barton Stadium.

Blues were playing catch-up from the second minute after James Boyd converted a penalty.

However they replied in kind when Dave Short dispatched a spot-kick following a foul by full-back Dan Gray on Perry Bircumshaw – who was attempting to reach Kallum Boyle’s lofted pass – that was punished with a red card.

Gate restored their lead on 28 minutes when Boyd, switched to defence in a reshuffle after his teammate’s dismissal, arrived on the edge of the box before firing into the bottom corner for 2-1.

Another twist followed when Sherwood, cautioned earlier for handball, was booked for a second time for a foul to leave both teams a man down.

Winsford struck first after a see-saw opening to the second-half, Short connecting with Sam Madeley’s perfectly-weighted cross to the back-post with a powerful volley past goalkeeper Josh Woods.

The visitors sent on attacker Dean Ing in response and his impact was almost instant when he curled over.

He was more accurate when he ran clear on 83 minutes, holding off a defender’s challenge before steering a low shot out of custodian Josh Samberg’s reach.

Winsford did not cave though and Joe Duckworth, who had replaced Rio Gill, redirected a loose ball in the penalty area into the net with a well-struck volley.

Buoyed, Madeley’s shot from the edge of the penalty area was just too high before his next effort grazed the woodwork after he had wriggled away from two defenders.

The match official made the final intervention when he sent off Ric Seear who had arrived late to challenge Samberg.

A draw keeps Winsford in 17th position, one point clear of second-bottom West Didsbury & Chorlton, beaten narrowly last weekend by Charnock Richard, who visit Barton Stadium on Saturday.

Blues | Samberg (GK), Clarke, Boyle, Sherwood, Jenyons (Ajmal 73), Foster, Gill (Joe Duckworth 80), Elliott, Madeley, Short, Bircumshaw

Subs not used Collinson, Lee Duckworth, Allen (GK) Goals Short 21 (penalty), 70 Joe Duckworth 85 Booked Sherwood, Short, Bircumshaw Sent off Sherwood (second caution)

Gate | Woods (GK), Gray, Sumner, Staunton-Turner, Rossall, Bamba, Charnley, (Ing 71) Booth, Seear, Egidi (Mullen 83), Boyd Subs not used Reader, Riley Goals Boyd 2 (penalty), 28 Ing 83 Booked Sumner, Booth, Egidi Sent off Gray, Seear

Referee Neil Evans

Attendance 194