LUKAS McCartney’s late header rescued Alresford Town a 2-2 draw against AFC Portchester on an Arlebury Park mudbath.

The Magpies got off to a dream start when Sam Burt fired in off the post with only two minutes of the Sydenhams Premier contest gone.

But poor defending cost Alresford dear midway through the second half as Portchester hit back with two quickfire goals.

Garry Moody scrambled in the leveller from a corner before 17-year-old Owen Bush put the Royals in front.

Alresford, though, deserved something for their efforts in wretched, energy-sapping conditions and, on 90 minutes, defender McCartney powered in a header from a corner.

“I said before that game that I felt our subs could be the difference and that proved to be the case,” said Alresford boss Richard Luffman. “Chad Morris got us on the ball and up the pitch.

“He won and took the corner for Lukas’s power header.

“It was some goal by Burt early doors as well!

“First half we were much the better side and probably to win the game we had to score again, but they were the better side in the second period.”

The draw left the teams locked together on 52 points, although fourth-placed Portchester have played six games fewer than the Magpies, who are just behind them on goal difference.

Portchester tomorrow host Wessex One outfit Andover New Street in the quarter-finals of the Sydenhams League Cup.

BASHLEY twice hit back from behind to force a 2-2 draw at Bournemouth Poppies in the Sydenhams Premier Division.

With the wind at their backs Poppies took the lead after just ten minutes when Ohameje slotted home.

That was the jolt the New Forest visitors needed and, within seconds, home keeper Jake Poynter was called upon to batter away a fierce Dan Munday shot.

It wasn’t until the second half, however, that Bashley summonded up an equaliser when Whiteley beat the offside trap and came out on top in a one-on-one with Poynter.

Whiteley and Kabba Jack then went close for Bash before Munday, searching for the goal his lively display warranted, went through on goal only for the ball to stick in the mud at the last moment.

After being on the ropes for over 25 minutes, Bournemouth then found a second wind and, after being thwarted by a fine reaction save by Michael Edgar, they struck gold through Ali Falkhal from the resulting corner.

Bashley drove forward in search of an equalieer and it arrived 15 minutes later when Morris slipped the ball in to the marauding Lewis Aimson, who powerfully cut inside and delivered the ball on a plate for Jack to put away.

ADAM ‘Taz’ Roberts scored with the last kick of the game to salvage Lymington Town a 2-2 Sydenhams Premier draw at home to Portland.

Harry Hawkins gave the Linnets a second-minute lead, but goals from Lewis Clarke and Alex Godfrey had turned the match around by half-time.

With the game in danger of slipping away, Lymington committed more men forward in the last ten minutes. The last-gasp equaliser arrived from a corner - ex-Winchester City favourite Roberts forcing the ball home at the near post amid a mass melee.

Portland’s interim manager Gary Bailey said: “I think we are all pretty gutted.

“One header, one kick away and we would have been coming away with a deserved three points.

“It is disappointing, but I am not disappointed with the performance.”

BRENDON King admitted Hamworthy United's remarkable comeback victory against Team Solent had been anything but good for his health.

The Hammers boss looked on stunned as his side overturned a 4-1 deficit to triumph 5-4 at the County Ground in the Sydenhams Premier.

Steve Smith had given the hosts an early lead but Ade Olumuyiwa, Silvano Obeng and Curtis Thorn put Solent in control. After Obeng added another early in the second half, the fightback begun.

Smith completed his hat-trick with a couple of efforts, the second a header from an Edgar Zanin cross, before being forced off with a hamstring injury.

Zanin set up Dan Cann to level and after Chris Clarke was brought down in the box late on, Nathan Walker sent the goalkeeper the wrong way from the spot.

Victory extended to four Sydenhams Wessex Premier games Hamworthy's unbeaten run and allowed them to increase the gap on fourth-placed AFC Portchester, the side immediately below them in the table.

Reflecting on the afternoon, King said: "It wasn't good for the ticker.

"We went 1-0 up and were playing quite well but then we gifted them three goals – they were poor goals to give away.

"Even so we were wondering how we were 3-1 down at half-time. It was a bit of a shock to be in that situation.

"We came out for the second half and missed two good chances before they got their fourth. But in the final 25 minutes it was one-way traffic.

"Although we conceded poor goals, it was good to see some character to come back from 4-1 down with half an hour to go."

BROCKENHURST'S depressing run of results continued with a 3-0 defeat at Bemerton Heath.

It was a real family affair for the Harlequins with ex-Eastleigh and Salisbury favourite Robbie Matthews joined by his son Jordan (2) on the scoresheet.