Aylesbury United were left wondering what could have been after letting a two-goal lead slip in a 2-2 draw with league leaders Kettering Town at the weekend.
Despite coming away with a noble point against the title favourites, it could have been so much better for the Ducks as they stormed into a 2-0 lead and had chances to go further ahead.
Instead, Kettering hit back with a goal on the stroke of half-time before a second half strike earned the table-topping visitors a point that takes them five points clear.
United, meanwhile, are down to 13th in Division One Central of the Southern League.
Following their New Year’s Day defeat to rivals Aylesbury FC, the Ducks welcomed back fit-again Shane Wood and Lewis Putman to the starting XI, but it was Kettering who initially made the brighter start as both David Kolodynski and Elliot Sandy were unable to profit from a goalmouth scramble in the United box before Brett Solkhon’s flick-on found Sandy, whose fierce volley was matched by a superb save from on-loan goalkeeper Tahj Bell.
From the resulting corner, United went up the other end and took a shock lead. The visitors left themselves short in numbers, and as United broke swiftly, they found themselves two-on-two with Lewis Putman bringing the ball a long way before firing in a low cross which was inadvertently turned into the net for an own goal.
After Aylesbury’s Greg Williams headed narrowly wide from the edge of the box, the ever-dangerous Kolodynski had a good chance to equalise when he collected a through ball but was thwarted by Bell, who was quickly out to save.
United then stunned Town with a second goal, Putman netting his 20th of the season after his effort took a big deflection and looped into the net.
Putman again had the ball in the net moments later, only for the referee to rule it out for an earlier foul, before chances came and went for Bill Morgan and Steve Hatch, who somehow managed to strike the bar from five yards out.
Those chances would come back to haunt United as Josh Moreman reduced the deficit after he was on-hand to score following a superb save from Bell before a brilliant James Jepson free-kick brought the visitors level midway through the second half.
The last 15 minutes could have gone either way as Bell was again called into action to deny Andrew Gooding before Morgan headed a corner towards goal only for team-mate Lea Coulter to get in the way and the game finished level.
This weekend, Aylesbury entertain high-flying Bedworth United.