Gosport Borough 3
Hemel Hempstead Town 3
High-flying Hemel Town were left to reflect on what might have been after letting a two-goal lead slip at struggling Gosport Town on Saturday.
A Charlie Mpi brace, coupled with a Dave Pearce effort, had put the Tudors 3-1 ahead with only ten minutes left to play, but the hosts rallied to rescue a point.
Despite the dropped points, however, Hemel manager Dean Brennan was keen to take the positives from the game.
“It was a good point overall,” he said. “We have to look it in a positive way.
“It did feel like a defeat straight after the game but I told the lads that it’s just how football goes.
“We were solid for 70 minutes and got ourselves in a good position to win the game but you have to give Gosport credit where credit’s due.
“They are in a difficult position but they are fighting for their lives.
“All in all on the day, a draw was probably a fair result.”
Gosport had begun the game well but it was the Tudors who took the lead mid-way through the first half when Dave Pearce fired home from a short corner.
The home side responded with a number of decent chances, but it was Hemel who struck again to double their advantage as striker Mpi produced a stunning finish from an acute angle.
Adam Wilde headed home to half the deficit, but Hemel restored their two-goal cushion through a long-range header from Mpi.
That looked like it would be enough for Hemel to take the three points, but Gosport had other ideas and earned a share of the spoils with late goals from Justin Bennett and Sam Pearce.
First, Bennett kept his cool to round the keeper and slot home, before Pearce fired in a 30-yard free-kick to snatch his side an unlikely point.
The draw keeps Hemel top of the Evo-Stick League Southern Premier Division, five points clear of second-placed St Neots Town.
The Tudors have, however, played more games than the rest of their title rivals.