Non-league: Haverhill Rovers 4 Saffron Walden Town 4
PUBLISHED: 09:27 10 February 2018 | UPDATED: 10:45 10 February 2018
The Bloods claimed an Eastern Counties point with a last-gasp strike after an eight-goal thriller on a cold Friday night at the New Croft.
But they might have returned home with more, having let a 2-0 lead slip in the first half of a topsy-turvy game.
The visitors took the lead within a minute as Charlie Portway found space in the corner of the box to produce a fine low finish.
And after the hosts saw a shot deflected just wide, Walden’s Ollie Emsden forced Evan Jeckells into a save with a sweetly struck attempt.
James Crane set up Joseph Murphy following a run on the right, but his shot was straight at Jeckells, before Joseph Bennett fired just wide for the home side.
Another strong run by Crane led to a shot being deflected wide, before Julian Simon-Parsons shot past the post from distance from the corner.
Walden doubled their lead with an excellent header from Greg Strong at a free-kick, only to see Haverhill hit straight back as Rory Jebb beat the offside trap to fire into the bottom corner of the net.
And it was all square when Walden were punished for some poor defending that saw Luke Haines slot past Neil O’Sullivan.
Haverhill had claims for a penalty ignored when Bennett went down in the box, while Portway fired wide at the other end.
But Bloods had a let-off when O’Sullivan collided with Jemel Fox when playing a short back pass and the ball was cleared off the line.
Walden regained the lead late in the first half when Simon-Parsons saw a superb effort deflected just wide and captain Spike Bell headed home from the corner, but the hosts went close to levelling with a far-post header from a free-kick just before the break.
It was 3-3 early in the second half, though, as a mix-up in the Walden defence saw O’Sullivan spill a cross and Ryan Geoghegan bundle the ball home from close range.
But Portway then rounded Jeckells at the other end, only to fire wide, and Ryan Fleming sent a 30-yard shot straight at the keeper.
Fleming’s dipping volley was inches away from restoring Walden’s lead, while Crane saw an attempt deflected over and Bell’s corner was tipped onto the bar.
However, Haverhill substitute Jamie Judge had a header well saved by O’Sullivan, before putting the home side 4-3 up with a shot from the edge of the box that crept past the keeper.
And it looked like being the winner, until Bloods got back on terms right at the death when a corner fell to Murphy and he rifled a low shot into the net.
Lewis Francis had seen a shot deflected wide from an earlier corner, while the next was tipped onto the bar and Tom Lakin had a shot from the edge of the box tipped over.
But Murphy made his mark to ensure Stuart Wardley’s men did not return home empty-handed, with a trip to Stowmarket Town up next on February 17.
Saffron Walden: O’Sullivan, Bell, Strong, Simon-Parsons, Moody, Fleming, Emsden, Murphy, Francis, Portway, Crane. Subs: Naylor, Ledwith, Lakin, Skeggs, Fanthorpe.
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