For the second Saturday running United failed to wrestle three points from a side in the bottom three, this time at a cost as centre-back Matt Ruby left the field on a stretcher after half an hour and looks to face several weeks on the sidelines.
Chances were to be really few and far between in a dire first half which was partly due to the awful playing surface at the Camrose. United were to have a couple of chances early on, Danny Allen-Page and James Mulley exchanged passes before the latter found Omari Coleman who cut inside before firing a shot that bounced back off keeper Ross Kitteridge's midriff before being scrambled clear. Almost immediately the ball was fired back into the Dragons area by Peter Collins but Ram Marwa's header went vertical and dropped over the crossbar.
Sadly this was not to be a prelude of all things good as just two minutes later United were behind. A Matt Warner corner fell nicely to Allan Tait but from close range his effort was blocked on the goalline by Aaron Howe and Matt Ruby, the ball was played straight back into goalmouth where Kelvin Bossman placed the ball just inside Howe's post to give his side the lead (below right).
Five minutes after going behind Josh Scott picked up the ball in midfield and ran at the home defence before finding Coleman who muscled his way past two defenders before blazing over from an acute angle. Ten minutes later United were dealt a body blow when Ruby went down and had to leave the field on a stretcher with his leg in a cast, we obviously wish him a speedy return to action.
The next action to awaken the freezing crowd came deep into first half stoppage time, Will Hendry played the ball into the area to Coleman who found himself grounded but still managed to get a shot in from the floor but Kitteridge held on comfortably to keep his side ahead at the break.
Some harsh words must have come at half time from the gaffer as United looked a different side after the break, taking just five minutes to level the scores. Hendry showed superb control before playing the ball with the outside of his foot across the defence to Mulley who toed the ball past Kitteridge's dive before hitting home from a tightening angle as defenders raced to cover their goalline.
Just a few minutes later Ram Marwa had a goalbound effort blocked away by home skipper Joe Dolan and just after the hour mark another excellent Hendry pass put Josh Scott through on goal, the striker being tripped by Kitteridge as he tried to round him. A yellow card was shown to the Dragons custodian who promptly got up and saved Scott's penalty, for once justice was not served although a red card would have been a little harsh.
Steven Gregory saw Kitteridge catch a 25 yard dipping volley before at the other end Sido Jombarti chipped the ball into the run of Tait, his first time shot being pushed around the post by Howe in the United goal. In the final ten minutes both sides had a great chance to take all of the spoils, substitute Staforde Palmer raced past two defenders before sliding the ball square to Scott who fired just over with his weaker right foot. Just four minutes were left when Howe again came to United's rescue, Jombarti found Jide Ogunbote who in turn helped the ball to Bossman, Howe pounced to block his shot at close range with Collins hacking the loose ball clear but again United had to settle for a single point.
Report by Kevin Watts. Photos by Ray Peploe.
Match Highlights available at www.fcvideo.co.uk
Website United Man of the Match: James Mulley.