BOURNE had to settle for a point after a late penalty denied them maximum points at Rushden and Higham United on Saturday.
The Wakes felt hard done by after conceding what they saw as a dubious decision to award the home side a spot kick late on. But Bourne can take heart from a spirited showing by a reshuffled side featuring new faces Matt Davis and Matt Cawthorn up front.
Full-back Craig Rook moved into midfield to play alongside Richard Nelson, who was making a welcome return.
Darren Munton’s men did look slightly ring-rusty after a lay-off since the end of November and this proved a scrappy encounter on a heavy and deteriorating pitch. After eight weeks without a league game however, assistant boss Phil Jarman was happy with the result.
He said: “It could have been a maximum return, but after a long lay-off, a draw on the road isn’t such a disappointment.
“There was a good debut from Davis who held the ball up and went close a couple of times in the second half and Rook showed excellent commitment and skill in the middle of the park.”
The youthful home side took the initiative in the opening part with the Bourne backline having to contend with low, bright winter sun in their eyes defensive duties were the priority until half-time.
Scoring chances were limited in the opening half with Cawthorn going closest for the Wakes.
Bourne took to the field for the second period with more confidence and cohesion but it was the Wakes who came close to conceding first, a good cross into the box found a home forward who’s first touch enabled Bourne keeper, Dan Jarman to smother.
The fixture burst into life on 72 minutes when Bourne forced a corner and a great delivery from Johnnie Currall found defender Ben Jones who slammed the ball into the roof of the net.
The goal spurred Rushden and Higham and Bourne had to dig deep with skipper Dan Smith making a diving interception to head clear.
Bourne could have sealed it when substitute Rob Dunn had a shot blocked on the line and shortly after, breaking from half-way he was denied a goal by the keeper.
What looked like three valuable points for Wakes was dashed in the final five minutes as a dubious penalty gave Higham a lifeline.
Arran Jesson appeared to cleanly intercept the ball and put it out for a corner and the Bourne contingent couldn’t believe it as the referee pointed to the spot for a foul. Jed Whiteman sent Jarman the wrong way to grab an equaliser.
Bourne: Dan Jarman, Ben Jones, Dan Smith, Arran Jesson, Tom Cardall, Johnnie Currall (Ashley Firth), Richard Nelson, Craig Rook, Stuart Lambie, Matt Cawthorn (Rob Dunn), Matt Davis.