TWO goals in the final 12 minutes rescued a point for Evesham United in their Southern League West opener at Larkhall Athletic on Saturday.
United looked to be heading for defeat after a Leroy Odiero own goal and a strike by George King had put the Larks 2-0 up just past the hour mark.
However, the Robins finally came to life in the final quarter of the game as Bradley Gray and then Matt Liddiard replied to earn a 2-2 draw and give Paul Collicutt’s side some momentum heading into Wednesday night’s visit of Cinderford Town.
Indeed, after Liddiard’s leveller, skipper Adam Mann and substitute James Campbell both struck shots that were within a whisker of grabbing United a late winner.
It was the first time since taking over the hotseat at the Jubilee Stadium that boss Collicutt survived a first day defeat.
Larkhall opened strongly and, after Joe Tumelty had gone close with a header, the unfortunate Odiero headed Josh Egan’s corner into his own net to hand the home side an 11th-minute lead.
Larkhall continued to look a threat going forward as Tyler Sibbick and Tumelty both went close.
United, though, had their moments before half time as Gray and Matt Williams headed over and Mann planted a far post header into the side-netting.
Soon after the restart, Liddiard headed over from inside the six-yard box and Gray had his header disallowed for pushing.
In the 63rd minute Larkhall increased their lead to 2-0 when United gave the ball away in midfield, allowing Cory Simpson to race away and cross to King who rifled in a shot beyond Kevin Sawyer.
United responded when a huge clearance by Sawyer caused a mix-up in the Larkhall defence, leaving Gray to round goalkeeper Shaun Semmens to make it 2-1 in the 78th minute.
The Red and Whites were now enjoying their best spell in the match and, after some heavy pressure, a ball in from the right was met by Liddiard who levelled with a close range header.
For the remaining few minutes Larkhall were forced to defend for their lives as Mann and Campbell almost won it at the death.
The Robins are in FA Cup preliminary round action at Northern League Division One South outfit Newcastle Town on Saturday.
PERSHORE Town were beaten 3-2 at Bolehall Swifts in Midland League Division One on Saturday. Scott Devlin and Michael Wright netted for Quentin Townsend’s men.
However, Town bounced back to defeat visitors Tenbury United 5-1 in the Smedley Crooke Memorial Charity Cup on Tuesday as Wright bagged a hat-trick and Daniel Priest also found the net.
Pershore host Uttoxeter Town on Saturday before entertaining Cadbury Athletic on Tuesday.