Bovingdon 1-1 Sandridge

Herts County League: Premier Division

COMPARED to last season's corresponding fixture, Sandridge will be pleased and displeased with a 1-1 draw away to Bovingdon on the opening day of the new Herts County League Premier Division season.

Although they picked up three points from this match last year, they also lost defender Joe Festa with a broken leg. No such problems this time for Sandridge although for much of the opening exchanges they looked a yard off the pace and can count themselves lucky not to have gone behind as Bovingdon put a couple of close range efforts wide before Sandridge settled down.

They should even have taken the lead on 20 minutes when a clever cross from Bradly Anderson, making his debut, turned the Bovingdon defence around and Vidgen, in a good position to score, had his feet taken from beneath him as he tried to make contact.

Gary Shane, normally so efficient from the spot, hit the upright and was then denied a chance to make up for it as a second penalty shout was turned down. This sparked life into Sandridge and they were looking dangerous for the first time when Bovingdon went down the other end to score with a well-placed shot that beat Toms on 37 minutes.

Sandridge proved last season what a resilient team they can be and equalised a minute later through Anderson, heading in at the far post from a Daryl Smith cross to go to the break level.

Bovingdon began the second half like they did the first but again failed to make their dominance count and Sandridge, through Gray and McShane in centre midfield, began to assert themselves.

A draw always looked likely until stoppage time, when both teams will feel they should have taken maximum points. Andy Wray, on as a second half substitute for Sandridge, had a 91st minute strike cleared off the line before Roy Spittles, tracking back, wrestled his man to the ground in the 98th minute, but the assault came to rest just outside penalty area and 1-1 it remained.

Sandridge manager Alan Ring was without skipper Mark Andrews as well as several other key players and will want them back in fold sooner rather than later with so many early season games on the calendar.