An injury time equaliser from Adam Davidson salvaged a point for Eastbourne United AFC after a 2-2 draw against Southwick.
The midfielder picked the perfect time to score his first goal for the club after finishing off Pete Cooper’s centre in the fourth minute of injury time to salvage what could be a vital point come the end of the season.
Simon Catt created the first scoring opportunity of the match for either side but saw his 25 yard drive well saved by Southwick ‘keeper Steve Allfrey.
A foul by Danny Simmonds 20 yards out brought Southwick there first attempt at goal and United were punished as Lewis Finney stepped up to steer a free-kick past the dive of Lee Daubeney with just eight minutes played.
After taking the lead, Southwick looked to pack out the midfield and stifle any attacking opportunities for United and more than held their own until an overlapping run and cross by Gianluca Del-Gaudio was met by Simmonds who headed against the post with Allfrey rooted to the spot.
It was a case of deja-vu minutes later when Del-Gaudio again surged forward and produced an inch perfect cross for Divall, who like Simmonds, saw his header hit the woodwork and bounce out for a goal-kick.
United’s luck changed as the half time whistle approached when Catt looped a crossfield pass to Baitup who produced a sublime 20 yard volley to mark his return to the side with a bang and send the sides in level at the break.
Divall again went close at the start of the second half after cutting in from the right wing and unleashing a curling left footed effort, but was again denied by the outside of the post.
United’s luck well and truly ran out on the hour as a ball over the top caught out the defence as Josh Hewitt lifted the ball over a stranded Daubeney and gave Southwick the lead as they looked to be heading to a first league win away from Old Barn Way since September.
Daubeney had to be at his very best to stop Finney extending Southwick’s lead as the United ‘keeper pushed a powerful header onto the bar and clear of danger.
United thought they had been awarded a penalty with twenty minutes remaining after the match referee had pointed to the spot after Divall had been pulled down in the area, but after consultation with the assistant referee, an indirect free-kick much to annoyance of the United bench and supporters.
Southwick were indebted to Allfrey three minutes as he produced a one-handed save from a powerful Pete Cooper strike and again denied the United striker with a fantastic reaction save following a Divall corner.
With time running out, Baitup was presented with a chance to draw level but the ball was just too far ahead of the division’s leading scorer as he could only guide his shot over the crossbar.
But United’s luck changed in the fourth minute of injury time when Davidson’s strike beat Allfrey and secured a point for the home side.
United: Daubeney; Simmonds, Del-Gaudio, Sherriff, Featherstone, Stracey (Davidson), Divall, Catt (J.Bunn), Cooper, Baitup, Barden (Farrant)
|Bexhill United||1||5||Broadbridge Heath||Att. 26|
|Rustington||1||1||Midhurst & Easebourne||Att. 30|
|Storrington||1||0||Little Common||Att. 38|
|Steyning Town||1||1||Mile Oak|
|Eastbourne United AFC||2||2||Southwick||Att. 57|
|Saltdean United||1||4||Littlehampton Town||Att. 57|