A 94th minute equaliser gave Biggleswade FC a share of the spoils in a hotly-contested “El Wadeico” derby in front of a crowd of 323 at Second Meadow on Saturday.
FC’s crucial last minute leveller ensured they would be top at Christmas – albeit just on goal difference from Tring Athletic.
It took 15 minutes for a chance of note to be created. An intricate move down the centre of the field saw Lee Northfield fashion some space for the shot, but it was deflected just wide.
United then started to show glimpses of why they are one of the division’s form teams with a well-crafted passage of their own. Sam Holmes picked up possession on the right and following a dart inside and lovely give and go with skipper Ieuan Lewis, he slotted the ball through to Joe Hankins who flashed the ball just wide of the target.
It was FC who took the lead just after the half hour mark though. Alex Marsh sent over a corner from the far side, Pat McCafferty helped it on at the near post and Michael Carroll stole in at the far post to squirm the ball under the advancing Leslie.
United responded well with a decent long range effort from the lively Tony Williams.
The major flashpoint arrived eight minutes into the second half. Michael Carroll sent in a free kick and with Jaiden Irish about to hook clear, McCafferty got a toe to the ball first and took a whack to the underside of his boot. It looked a penalty, but the referee thought otherwise.
There followed a robust challenge from Charlie Briggs on the edge of the penalty area causing a brief melee. Once things had quickly dispersed, Briggs was given his marching orders quickly followed by Cookman who was deemed to have been involved in the shenanigans.
The match was turned on its head in three mad minutes either side of the hour mark. On 59 minutes a ball up the right hand side found the impressive Lewis who set the ball for Cooper to provide the cross. The loose ball couldn’t have fell any better for Hankins who guided a lovely finish past Tompkins.
Then from an FC free-kick, Kane Farrell swiftly started the United counter attack up the left hand side. His ball over the top appeared to have been headed off by Tompkins, but his attempted clearance only gifted Ieuan Lewis an open goal to put the home side in front.
With time running out FC were denied another penalty but did snatch a equaliser.
Leavers keep the ball in – sub Abraham Eze then took over with a smart turning burst into the right of the penalty area. This time there was end product from FC and despite a last ditch block from United, the ball fell kindly for McCafferty and he hauled his side level with a low drive on the follow up.
FC host Stotfold on Saturday while United make the short trip to Potton on Friday.