HAYLING UNITED were undone by a late equaliser from Fareham Town at the College Ground in the Wessex League premier division.
Lee Paul’s United looked set for victory and a much-needed three points.
But Fareham capitalised on a moment of hesitancy from the Hayling defence to snatch a 2-2 draw.
The Fareham celebrations that followed, after Ashley Tattershall was given time and space to poke the ball home, showed exactly what the point meant to Matt Parr’s men.
At one stage, Hayling looked set for a glorious derby day.
They opened up a 2-0 lead in 25 minutes.
Ashley Fisher turned Dan Martin’s cross in at the far post for 1-0.
And Martin raced onto a clearance from impressive Hayling keeper Jack Salter-Vaile to lob the ball over keeper Luke Douglas into the roof of the net.
Visitors Fareham pulled a goal back in the second half.
Rob Pittman fizzed a shot into the corner from 25 yards.
Matt Parr’s Reds attempted to level but were thwarted by the excellent Salter-Vaile.
In a frantic finale, Fareham striker Rob Tambling set up Jim Cuthbert who blazed wildly over.
But Hayling then took their foot off pedal, thinking the job was done, and Tattershall broke their hearts with an equaliser.
‘It has left us all shattered because we know that we have lost two of the points and deserved more than just one,’ said Paul.
‘I knew Fareham would come at us in the second half – which they did – but the longer the game went, even though they pulled a goal back, I thought we could defend our lead until the end.
‘What I can say is the team are growing in strength the longer they play together and that is a major positive.’
Delighted boss Parr felt his side deserved for credit for turning around a poor first-half display.
He said: ‘We knew the lads would have a battle on their hands and going two goals behind so early didn’t fit the script I had set for coming away with a win,’ said Parr.
‘But we had a chat about our poor first-half display during the interval and we could have gone on to win, though credit where it’s due, Hayling made us fight for what we got so, perhaps, the result was right.’