A SPIRITED second-half comeback earned Shoreham Football Club a share of the spoils in a 3-3 draw at home to local rivals Lancing on Saturday.
For Lancers, it was the second time in three County League Division 1 games that they had held a two-goal lead at half-time, only to be pegged back.
Lancing looked comfortable as they led 3-1 with 20 minutes to go but Mussels hit back to earn an ultimately deserved point.
After early chances for both sides, Shoreham went ahead after 16 minutes. Rob O’Toole got free down the left, Josh Spinks only half-cleared the cross, and the ball dropped for debutant Richard Watton, who slotted in from close range.
Lancers responded well and almost equalised instantly through Alex Howell, who rifled his effort against the bar.
Ryan Waterman then lashed an effort over, but Shoreham failed to heed these warnings and Lancers did level on 20 minutes. Shoreham proved masters of their own undoing as Ben Coles profited from lax Mussels marking to power in a free header from a Wayne Joseph corner.
That paved the way for a spell of Lancers dominance, which culminated in them turning the game on its head by half-time
Howell and Jonno Melia both went close, before ex-Mussel Melia crossed for another former Middle Road man, Dominic Shepherd, to loop home a header just before the half-hour.
Lancers were well in control by that point and extended their lead five minutes before the interval. Shepherd went down under a challenge from Mussels debutant Addlight Magwidi, and although the award of the spot-kick looked harsh, Howell took resposibility for the penalty and blasted it home down the middle.
In a largely uneventful second half, Mussels’ Ross Myers shot over and Shepherd had a free kick saved but Lancers were content to protect their lead and keep Mussels at arm’s length.
However, the home side did find a way back into the game out of nothing with 20 minutes remaining. Carl Dunk’s flighted free kick picked out Magwidi, who marked an impressive debut with a superb finish from a tight angle to give his side hope of an unlikely fightback.
That changed the complexion of the encounter and, with Shoreham now in the ascendancy, it took them only seven minutes to equalise.
Whether George Fenton’s foul on O’Toole warranted a spot-kick was debatable, but Watton slammed in the kick to make it 3-3 and set up a potentially thrilling finale, but neither team was able to conjure a winner.
SHOREHAM: Brock; Zydonik, Allan, Fleming, Edwards; R.O’Toole, Buggy, Milner, Myers; Dunk, Watton. Subs: Magwidi (Milner 30), Cooper, Stevens, Louis, McKenzie.
LANCING: Shaw; Fenton, Spinks, Coles, Sharman; Joseph, Waterman, Bant, Melia; Shepherd, Howell. Subs: Pulling (Shepherd 78), Conway (Joseph 83), Bailey, Stuart, Kirby.