Billy Cove’s Bishop’s Stortford Swifts fought back twice against strugglers Canning Town to salvage a point in their quest for promotion.
The hosts dominated for much of the match, but found themselves behind twice, before fighting back and almost claiming all three points while Canning Town defended well at times to claim a valuable point.
The point meant the Swifts moved into fourth, but remained four-points off second while the visitors moved ahead of Kelvedon Hatch into 12th, and went 3-points clear of bottom-side Old Southendian.
The hosts almost made the perfect start to the match as within 29-seconds, the Swifts were on the attack. Harry Bouington was played through on goal, but saw his shot saved brilliantly by Mason Deegan. A couple of minutes later, the hosts looked to be in again as a cross was sent towards the far post, but Kurt Smith wasn’t able to reach it, despite diving towards the ball before Brett Munyard also looked to stretch to prode the ball home, but was too far out.
The Swifts continued to dominate the opening 15-minutes to the game, as the visitors barely had a say in the game. Munyard had another good opportunity to break the deadlock as he fired a shot towards goal, but his effort was over the bar. The first Canning Town attack came in the 19th-minute as they looked to grab a goal against the run of play. Joe Hall got his head to the ball, but saw his effort saved by the finger tips of Callum Lynskey.
Minutes later, the visitors had taken the lead against the run of play as Hall opened the scoring. The forward was played through and slotted the ball beyond the keeper to give his side the lead. Immediately from the restart, the Swifts looked to find an equlaiser. Darren Phillips sent a wicked ball towards the back post, but Smith was unable to keep his shot down as he volleyed it miles over the bar. Six-minutes after the opening goal, the hosts were level as Phillips scored. The attacker got his head to a free-kick ball and sent it beyond the keeper to ensure Swifts had a goal for all their possession.
As the game approached the break, the hosts found themselves on the back foot as Canning Town looked to retake the lead. Abdul Shobowale sent the ball towards Jack Williamson, who took the ball over the defenders head but saw his shot blocked by the foot of Lynskey. Down the other end, Swifts thought they had taken the lead, with two-minutes to play of the first half as Gabriel Odili put the ball into the back of the net, but the goal was ruled out for a foul and the score remained level. On the stroke on half-time, Swifts found themselves with a man-disadvantage as Ishmael Saidy talked himself into a sin-bin.
Despite starting with less-men, it was the hosts who almost made the perfect start to the second half. The ball feel to Phillips, but his effort was whiskers wide of the post. Minutes later, Deegan pulled off a superb save to deny the Swifts from close range before Kurt Smith creates some space for himself, but his shot was parried well by the Town keeper.
Canning Town inflicted another sucker-punch blow on the Swifts as they retook the lead in the 13th-minute of the second period. Karl Harms headed the ball beyond the keeper to give the second from bottom side the hope of three points. The Swifts upped the pressure as they once again looked to find a leveller. They tried to play a couple of balls through the defensive lines, but found it hard to break down the resilient Town defence before Billy Purdy sent a shot towards goal, but his effort was deflected behind. The resulting corner was headed over by Phillips, with faint shouts for a handball.
As the game approached the last 15-minutes, the Swifts continued to dominate possession, but still found themselves trailing. Odili received the ball over the top, but sent his effort wide of the post before Chris Lockwood hit the crossbar from distance. The pressure paid off and the Swifts were back level with 10-minutes to play. Kurt Smith stepped up to take a spot-kick after a Swifts player was brought down on the edge of the box, and converted well beyond the keeper.
The hosts looked most like scoring a winner as the seconds ticked away, with Munyard seeing his shot blocked from close range. Both sides had chances as neither side wanted to settle for the point. Swifts saw an effort fly over the bar before a long-range effort from the visitors was also just over the bar. Despite pressure from both sides, the game ended with the spoils shared.