Horndean boss Dave Carter had no complaints after watching his Wessex League premier division new-boys earn a 1-1 draw against Lymington last night.
The Five Heads Park side found themselves a goal behind early in the first half, before a Bobby Hopkinson spot-kick levelled matters just before the half-hour mark.
The home side hoped to add to their equaliser in the second half, but had to rely on the heroics of keeper Simon Howard, who saved a second-half penalty, to prevent them from falling to a home defeat.
‘It was a fair result on the night,’ said Carter.
‘I was pleased with the first-half performance but not so much with the second.
‘We found ourselves under the cosh playing up the slope, and our goalkeeper Simon Howard made two fabulous saves.
‘I thought we would come out and play better in the second period but they put us under a lot of pressure.’
Horndean made a positive start, with Dan Smith picking out Ryan Gadd with a deep cross.
Hawks loanee Gadd then squared the ball across the area but it was easily cut out by the Lymington defence.
The visitors responded well and Howard shoved Dan Fox’s low shot around the foot of the near post.
Howard did even better on 11 minutes, this time rushing out to save at the feet of the on-rushing John Mulhern.
Two minutes later, though, the visitors took the lead thanks to a well-worked goal.
Gareth Byers burst forward from midfield and threaded a pinpoint ball through to Fox, who buried his shot into the far corner of the net.
Horndean were denied an equaliser soon afterwards when Stuart Williamson made a super save.
Dan Hayes’ curling free-kick was heading for the top corner when Williamson pushed it away one handed.
The visitors were starting to control the midfield, putting Horndean under increasing pressure.
But the home side soon picked up the tempo and on 28 minutes, Aaron Fennemore had a header cleared off the line.
Ten minutes before the break, Carter’s men dragged themselves level from the penalty spot.
The referee adjudged that Fennemore had been pushed in the area and Hawks loanee Hopkinson sent the keeper the wrong way with his spot-kick.
Minutes before half-time, Fennemore fired wide from a good position inside the area.
Horndean had a huge let-off on 51 minutes when Smith was adjudged to have handled inside the area.
However, Howard went full length to keep the spot-kick out of the bottom corner.
The visitors continued to look the better side going forward, although Gary Austin did drill one shot narrowly over the bar.
The game developed into a stalemate, but in the final 10 minutes both sides went close.
Hayes flashed a header wide from a corner, while at the other end Howard produced another fine save to deny Lymington.