Hale Leys United needed a last-gasp goal from Sean Coles to preserve their unbeaten start to the season in an action-packed 3-3 draw with local rivals Aston Clinton.
The defending SSML Division Two champions struggled to get going from the off with Aston taking a 1-0 lead following a period of sustained pressure and it wasn’t long until the visitors doubled their advantage when they pounced upon a rare mistake from keeper Ashley Jenkins.
Going 2-0 behind seemed to jolt United into life as they responded from a lethargic start with a much-needed goal before half-time through Tom Brindley’s spot-kick after Daniel Parsons had been fouled in the penalty area.
Hale were again put under pressure in the opening stages of the second half before eventually getting their act together as Kevin Mealor levelled things up on the hour.
The hosts looked to be in the ascendency, but Aston had other ideas as they retook the lead to put Hale’s unbeaten record in serious danger.
United came piling forward with Nathan Graham having a goal ruled out and just when it seemed they were beaten, Coles popped up in the dying minutes to smash home a late equaliser.
Hale boss Paul Alleyne said: “I’m disappointed in some players as they did not raise their levels or show their quality, but fair play to Aston who worked hard and deserved more out of the match.
“I will speak to my players this week and chat about their poor performance. It’s not easy as we’ve had a few midweek games but that’s no excuse. If the opposition raise their levels we should respond but we didn’t.”
Hale remain second, two points behind Kent Athletic.