HAVING won 11 consecutive matches over the last couple of months, Insch FC found themselves just one point behind Tarves and effectively three points away from the clinching top place in North Division One.
The home side got off to a great start when a sixth minute free kick was driven in by Craig Simpson and Kevin CAMERON steered the ball past the visiting keeper into the corner of the net.
On the 17 minute mark Insch looked to have doubled their lead when the keeper, under pressure from a corner palmed the ball into his own net and despite little protest by the defence, the referee awarded a free kick for an infringement on the keeper.
That let-off spurred on Nicols and within five minutes had found themselves level when Errol Watson in goal was left with no chance following a softly conceded free kick which the Nicol centre forward crashed into the roof of the net.
Insch pulled ahead once more as some good passing play on the left saw Andrew Knight break clear of the defence and centred to John ANDERSON who finished confidently. Insch looked nervy on the ball and despite having more possession gave up the ball too easy as the first half came to a close.
The Insch half time team talk failed to inspire the side as Nicols immediately took the game to the home side but it was a clearance from the visiting defence which saw a last man tackle in the box which the referee adjudged, from some 50 yards behind play, to have been a foul and indeed a penalty.
As both sidelines waited a red card the referee only pulled out the yellow card despite protestations from the Nicol touchline. Errol Watson was left with no chance from the spot kick.
Insch pushed more from that point onwards and were denied a penalty when Cameron was fouled on the edge of the box and the Cameron shot weekly into the keepers arms when through on goal.
Substitute Brown had a shot well saved from 20 yard as Insch looked to press for the vital goal that might secure the league trophy. The visitors seemed content to soak up pressure, waste time and hit on the break as the clock ran down.
Just when it seemed there would be no further scoring a further substitution looked to have found the vital score when Ian “Syd” JAFFREY found himself clear in the box and calmly side footed it past the keeper at the near post and the ever growing support on the touchline gave a loud cheer of approval.
With nine minutes remaining it was Insch’s turn to slow down the game as Nicol pressed for an equaliser and Watson had to make two good stops. But there was to be a further cruel twist. With three minutes remaining the home side conceded a freekick some 25 yards from goal and a fantastic finish in the top corner left Errol Watson helpless and the expected victory seemed to have been lost and indeed the Nicols side could have snatched it at the death but some great defending kept the sides all square. The Insch players were clearly devastated at the end of the match but the point gained gives them another opportunity to win the league with a play-off against Tarves to be arranged.