Winslow United left it late to snatch a point and deny Buckingham Athletic the bragging rights after a typically hard-fought and scrappy local derby at Elmfields Gate.
Both sides were in desperate need of all three points going into the game as the two local rivals battle against relegation and it was Athletic who looked on course for victory after Chris Davies’ first half goal, but an injury-time strike from Jason Costello earned the hosts a precious point.
Winslow manager Scott Reynolds said afterwards: “I am really pleased with the effort levels, amount of character and determination my players showed today.
“It’s never easy going a goal down in a scrappy game, but to come back and get better and better as the game went on, they all deserve credit.
“That’s the first time this season we haven’t played particularly well but got something from the game. Normally if we are off our best, we get punished. Today was different.
“A special mention to our keeper Tom Weymes, who made two great saves in the second half and played last 20 minutes injured and also to our skipper Jason Costello, who got his first league goal to grab the last-gasp equaliser!
“I’d also like to say thanks to the 280 fans who turned up to watch. Hopefully you can all see the progress we are making and a performance like that will bring a few more back in the New Year.”
On a difficult surface, Athletic had the first chance of note on 11 minutes when an effort was blazed over, while at the other end, a Winslow attack culminated in Grant Karwacinski firing wide.
It was a scrappy and largely uneventful first half, but that didn’t stop Buckingham from taking the lead when, from a long goal-kick, Davies nipped in and lobbed the advancing Tom Wymes to score.
Winslow almost levelled instantly as James Bishop headed wide but Athletic remained in the ascendancy and they should have doubled their lead on two separate occasions, first Matt Cruise shot over when well-placed before Josh Hooper was brilliantly denied by Weymes.
Further chances came and went for the visitors in the second half, with Adam Bone’s free-kick seemingly destined for the bottom corner, only for Weymes to tip the ball around the post, before United began to pose more of a threat.
On 72 minutes, new signing Maurice Doherty Labode skipped past three challenges before playing a one-two with Costello, only to see his effort trickly agonisingly wide.
As the clocked ticked down, Winslow threw everything forward in a desperate attempt to snatch an equaliser but it all seemed in vain until the second minute of added time when a Weymes goal-kick was flicked-on and Costello raced through before firing home to grab a draw.
Despite the late drama, Winslow remain bottom of South Midlands League Division One, while Buckingham Athletic are up to 16th.
This weekend, United visit Southall while Buckingham host Amersham.