Southwick Football Club saw a two-goal lead come and go as they were held to a home draw by Midhurst & Easebourne on Saturday.
A glowing opening 45 minutes saw strikes from Dean Smith and Joe Bidwell put them two goals in front, before Midhurst fought back to snatch a 2-2 draw in the Southern Combination League Division 1 clash.
The turning point in the game came when substitute Thomas Donnelly was shown a second yellow card for dissent five minutes after the break.
Wickers manager John Kilgarriff, who was forced to play in goal, felt playing the final 40 minutes a man light was crucial as his side let a lead go.
He said: “You could say this was two points dropped given the position we were in at half-time. However, having to play the final 40 minutes with ten men left us with it all to do.
“It’s obviously frustrating we couldn’t hold on to win but in the end I was pleased we didn’t lose it.”
Smith headed Wickers ahead after 25 minutes but he was forced off immediately afterwards as he took a blow to the face when he netted.
Southwick were dominant and had a second ten minutes before the break through Joe Bidwell.
Donnelly was introduced just after the break but spent less than five minutes on the pitch. He was booked for a foul then shown a second yellow card for dissent in the immediate aftermath.
Lawrence Hyde pulled one back for Midhurst on the hour as Wickers struggled to cope with a man less.
A ball through the middle ten minutes later caused all sorts of problems and Gary Norgate broke free and rolled the ball under Kilgarriff to level at 2-2.
Southwick’s Ross Myers saw a free kick saved by Cowell, before Kilgarriff had to make a low save late on as it finished all square.
Southwick have a break from the league on Saturday when they travel to Billingshurst for their SCFL Division 1 Challenge Cup quarter-final (1.30pm).
SOUTHWICK: Kilgarriff; Tucker, Dunk, McLennan, Josh Bidwell; Smith, Cook, Packham; Myers, Petts, Joe Bidwell. Subs: Lansdale (Smith, 25), Donnelly (Josh Bidwell, 46), Groom (Joe Bidwell, 80), Beresford.
Southwick have been deducted a point for fielding an ineligible player. Tom Donnelly started Wickers’ league clash with Bexhill United on December 17, but his registration papers had still not been cleared after moving from Lancing United.
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