Deeping Rangers’ must-do-better list will have “cut out individual errors” on it alongside “take our chances” after snatching a draw from the jaws of Sileby Rangers.
At least the crowd at The Hayden Witham Stadium saw enough evidence to suggest that a second half of the season collapse might not happen again, given the way Rangers bought back from an almost lost cause with just 17 minutes to go.
Manager Michael Goode made just two changes from the Deepings side that let five clear-cut chances go begging at Sleaford Town the previous Wednesday, with Luke Avis and Dan Schiavi replacing Henry Dunn and Scott Coupland respectively.
Long before that, Michael Goode’s men were in total control against a Sileby team that used their height superiority fully by bombarding their opponents were set pieces.
But it was Deeping who scored first when Dan Schiavi broke down the Sileby left before supplying an inviting cross for Scott Mooney to head past Kris Bartle.
There were a few close shaves before then, most notably with Sileby’s Dalton Bettles headed a Mark Forbes free kick over the bar and Richard Stainsby saving well when Brian Farrell sent a cross in front of the Deepings goal that Michael Byrne almost poked home.
However, there were enough warnings for Deeping before the equaliser when a Forbes corner was headed in at the right-hand post by an unmarked Paul Caswell.
It could have been two for Sileby before the break as Merdy Maki fired across the bar from an angle as Deeping’s defensive frailties began to show themselves.
Then Sileby went for the jugular as Byrne finished a slick move started by 6ft 9in skipper Leon Simpson and set up by Farrell, catching Deeping cold just after half-time.
At this point, it was hard to see Deepings getting an equaliser until Schiavi forced Bartle to save after a cutback from Mooney.
Then Sileby went further ahead, Byrne latching onto a poor clearance by Stainsby to lob home.
Before then, Goode had introduced Bird to pester the Sileby defence and Dunn to unlock the midfield.
Sure enough, Charlie Coulson finished a move in which Dunn played a valuable part, supplying Mooney to cross for the goal
Hunnings went close from a Schiavi free kick and Bird forced a save out of Bartle before the equaliser when Bird headed a rebound after Mooney’s shot from a Dunn pass was saved by Bartle.
There was still time for more drama at the end when Mooney shot wide after being put through and Sileby substitute Anju Nathanel missed a certain chance to win the game in stoppage time by shooting wide from six yards out.
4-3-1-2: Stainsby 7; Flack 7, Hunnings 6, Madigan 6, Smith 6; Lewis 5 (sub Dunn 60 mins, 8), Burton-Jones 6, Avis 5 (sub Bird 60 mins, 7); Coulson 8; Mooney 6, Schiavi 7. Subs not used: Marsden, Carter, Clay.
4-5-1: Bartle, Stevens, Caswell, Bettles (sub Uzoma 80 mins), Jaward; Maki, Simpson, McMichael (sub Halliday 66 mins), Forbes, Farrell; Byrne (sub Nathanael 85 mins).
Mooney (16 mins, 1-0); Caswell (30 mins, 1-1); Byrne (46 mins, 1-2); Byrne (70 mins, 1-3); Coulson (73 mins, 2-3); Bird (84 mins, 3-3).
Charlie Coulson - a steady and consistently threatening presence in attack, boosted by the arrival of game-changer Henry Dunn.
Wisbech Town (A) – Tuesday night.
@ACBowell – Deeping Rangers 3 Sileby 3 Will Bird The Great Escape