With six minutes left on the clock of Eastbourne Borough’s FA Cup third round qualifying clash with Hendon, home fans must have feared the worst.
Trailing by two goals to one after a scrappy encounter between two sides struggling in their respective divisions, Borough’s cup history of exiting to lower-league opposition seemed as if it would be back to haunt them again.
However, after being on the receiving end of late-goal drama in league matches so far this season, the tables turned and it was Borough who bagged an 85th minute equaliser to force a replay with the Ryman Premier side.
Tommy Widdrington made four changes to the side that lost 2-1 to Tonbridge Angels during the week, handing Ben Adams and Ellis Remy their first start while introducing David Knight and Sam Cole back into the starting eleven.
It was Hendon who came the closest to scoring in what proved to be a goalless first half though after Anwar Uddin hit his own post after a sliced clearance.
However, if Borough thought they’d been let off the hook, their relief didn’t last long as Hendon took the lead just three minutes after the restart. The pace of Elliott Charles and Greg Ngoyi got the better of the home defence and Ngoyi powered past Nick Jordan to put Hendon in front.
Borough’s leveller came in the 71st minute as the superb Chris Shephard latched onto a Ben Adams cross to open the Sports’ account, only for Hendon’s Ngoyi to restore their lead less than a minute later as Borough’s concentration lapsed.
In an inspired substitution, Widdrington threw on Borough’s new defender David Obaze and he used all of his 6ft 5in to nod the ball down for Shephard to drill home the equaliser with five minutes left to play.
Hendon’s Stuart Shulton was dismissed with a straight red card in the dying minutes and will therefore be unavailable when the sides do it all over again tonight.
Borough: Jordan 6, Hamilton 7, Cole 7, Adelsbury 6 (Lok 7, 60), Rowe 7, Uddin 6, Adams 7 (Obaze 7, 84), Johnson 8, Knight 6 (Gorman 7, 60), Remy 7, Shephard 8. Unused subs: Noone, Ademeno, Morgan, Hart
Hendon: Laurencin, Wharton, Cousins, Fisher, McCluskey, K. MacLaren, Cracknell, Shulton, Ngoyi (Mazzone, 80), Charles (Rankin, 69), C. MacLaren (Hall, 91) Attendance: 493 Referee: Mr I. Cooper