MATCH VERDICT: Too little, too late in title race?
Scott Mooney’s late leveller rescued a point – but that’s not really enough for Deeping Rangers right now.
The striker sent a header over the reach of Charlie Andrews just before the game went into four minutes of stoppage-time.
Mooney’s first goal at the Haydon Whitham Stadium in 2018 came following a flick from Jonny Clay’s long throw.
However, the Clarets will have to consider this result as two points dropped rather than one gained – even in the dramatic finish.
Quite simply, championship challengers can’t afford to slip up at this stage.
A home game against a relegation-threatened side must bring maximum reward.
Mooney and his prolific partner Scott Coupland had put Deeping 2-0 up against Oadby Town at half-time in mid-December.
Floodlight failure forced the fixture to be abandoned and Oadby’s visit on Saturday came at the end of a week which had already produced two away wins.
The Poachers were close to a hat-trick courtesy of Harry Allcock’s first-half strike.
He fired home when Sam Burton pulled the ball back – but it was another poor goal for Deeping to give away.
Burton had too much time initially when he might have put a cross into the box.
Instead, he went past Jason Kilbride too easily and found his team-mate.
Deeping should have been in front as Andrews pulled off a double save from Mooney and Coupland before kicking out David Burton-Jones’ low effort.
Aniyah King made a last-gasp challenge on Kilbride at 0-0 and had another couple of key moments early in the second half.
King cleared off the line to deny Kilbride again and, just two minutes later, a challenge on Sam Hollis was equally vital to protect the advantage.
Mooney had three more chances in between Oadby’s opener and the interval.
Luke Hunnings and Hollis couldn’t convert either when Deeping pushed forward near the end.
Allcock and Josh Walsh might have extended the lead at the start of the second half.
More composure by Oadby – particularly when Deeping left spaces to exploit – would have made it easier to hold on.
Mooney finally found a way past Andrews to offer some relief for Rangers.
Overall, though, a point is not enough.
The performance was just above average so Deeping will need to do more if they want to push for promotion.
4-4-2: Bircham 6; Flack 6 (sub Hamilton 72 mins), Hunnings 6, Clay 6, Hollist 6 (sub Smith 63 mins, 6); Kilbride 6, Coulson 6 (sub Dunn 63 mins, 6), Burton-Jones 6, Hollis 6; Coupland 6, Mooney 7. Subs not used: Simpson, Stainsby.
3-4-1-2: Andrews; King, Hefford, Ayoola; Barber, Sunmonu, Walsh (sub Green 84 mins), Burton; Beardmore; Allcock (sub Parkinson 87 mins), Parkes. Subs not used: Darkwah.
Allcock (19 mins, 0-1); Mooney (90 mins, 1-1).
Coulson (foul); Allcock (kicking ball away).
Scott Mooney – finally got reward for his efforts with late leveller. The striker had four attempts before the break but pounced at the end for his first goal at home in 2018.
Cogenhoe United (H) – Saturday.