Uppingham Town and Oakham United were both held to draws in the top flight of the Peterborough and District League on Saturday.
Town were held 1-1 at last season’s champions Pinchbeck United while Oakham, who played for 70 minutes with just ten men, salvaged a 2-2 draw at Stilton United.
United’s Craig Welbourne was shown a straight red early in the first half and Oakham conceded another spot kick, taking their penalties against tally well into double figures for the season.
Oakham skipper Eddie McDonald said: “Craig’s tackle was a little late. The ref had no choice.”
McDonald himself equalised late in the first half with a direct free kick but Oakham conceded soon after to go in one down at the break.
Late in the second half, Ben Cox salvaged a point, tucking in the rebound after his initial header at a corner was blocked.
Oakham: Shane Hicks, Craig Welbourne, Tom Bain, Jamie Saddington, ben Cox, Eddie McDonald, Robbie Dance (Will Lee), Steve Smith (Jamie Dalby), James Twose, Nathan Arkle, Pat Donlan (Dom Cawden-Bone).
Uppingham captain Martin Bennett said Town’s draw at Pincheck was a disappointment after his side had led 1-0 at half-time thorugh a Scott Bryan goal.
“We should have won it. We created lots of chances,” he said.
“Before we had scored we were knocking the ball around nicely but then we seemed to stop playing. They only really had one chance in the first half and then a 10 to 15 minute spell in the second.
“It felt like a loss at the end of the game which shows how much we have improved this season. We’re almost there. It was just a question of luck on Saturday.”
Town’s big test is looming on the horizon with Saturday’s Rutland derby followed by third-placed Leverington Sports on January 5 and consecutive quarter-finals in cup competitions against Aylestone Park and Moulton Harrox on Janury 8 and 12.
Uppingham: Tom Hubbard, Martin Bennett, James Binley, Scott Bryan, James Coughlan, Mark Dimeeh, Rob Forster, James Howe, Tom, Hubbard, Rob Lawrie, Jacob Norton, Callum O’Berg. Sub: Harry Gregg.
In Division One, Ryhall won 4-0 at Farcet thanks to goals from Chris McRoyall, Ricky Pozella, Will Thomas and an own goal.
Ryhall were four goals ahead by half-time and although they didn’t carry that momentum into the second half, they rarely looked in danger of being pegged back. Ryhall host Long Sutton on Saturday.
Ryhall: Lee Barsby, Robbie Blowers, John Feetham, Joe Lippett, Chris McRoyall, Ricardo Pozella, Steve Rudkin, Danny Sheehan, Paul Sheehan, Will Thomas, Michael Webb. Subs: James Farmbrough, James Sheehan.