FIVE goals in six minutes late into the second half saw Highbury 3s battle back from four points behind and bag a 10-10 draw against Bec 3s.
Richard Hayward, who scored four in the match, Sarah-Louise Burgess, Sonal Thakrar and skipper Karthik Ramulu were on target in a frantic spell of the match to help earn their side a first point of the season.
There were chances for the visitors to grab victory which were not taken, but they left the court feeling jubilant and confident ahead of the return fixture with Bec 3s on Sunday.
Just one change was made to the 3s’ starting line-up, welcoming Hannah Ackerley in the place of Ellie Simes while Thakrar and Dave Graham were additions on the substitutes’ bench.
Having fallen behind in both previous games so far this season, the 3s were delighted to take the lead early on when Hayward converted a penalty and it was looking good for them with the attacking division flowing well and the defensive unit building a wall at the other end.
The lead doubled when a Burgess intercept allowed the ball to go back into the attacking division and after a few passes, Ackerley’s shot found the korf.
Shaken by the quick-fire start, Bec soon settled and with their first attack after the changeover cut the deficit.
Highbury should have extended the advantage with Ramulu missing three shots and George Thorpe failing to find the target from short distance after a great set-up by his captain.
At the opposite end, Bec missed a penalty following a push by Laura Goulden, but the little errors now appearing up front with passes going wide and intercepts coming in soon saw an equaliser come.
Ackerley nearly made it 3-2, but was unable to fire home from under the korf. However, Hayward did put the 3s ahead again with a lovely long shot.
The lead did not last long again though as a push by Thorpe gave a free pass away, which the hosts scored from and Bec took the lead when a move saw Goulden lose track of her attacker, letting her in.
Another pacey attack saw the score become 5-3, but Highbury made sure they went in at half time just one goal behind when Hayward’s shot was collected by Ackerley, who made no mistake this time from under the korf.
There was another quick-fire start made after the break, but unlike the first half, the shots were not finding the target for Highbury with Hayward, Ackerley and Jack Birch all going close.
Mistakes were creeping into Highbury’s game again with passes being over-hit and their opponents managing to intercept balls, but Hayward was able to find his long shooting form again to make it 5-5.
The scores did not stay level for long though as Bec scored almost immediately from the restart and Hayward was penalised for moving the post resulting in a penalty which the hosts converted to make it 7-5.
Another couple of scores from Bec followed, the first after an attacker did excellent work to keep the ball in play and the ninth goal coming from long distance, and momentum was with the home team.
Highbury desperately needed a goal to take some of the wind from Bec’s sails and Philippa Stevens missed a golden opportunity from a restart to do so, but not long afterwards Burgess slotted in a chance from a free pass.
This goal sparked off a dramatic end to the match which would see the visitors claw themselves back into proceedings.
A long shot from Bec in the corner of the court made it 10-6, but a lovely passing move featuring Hayward, Ackerley and Thakrar saw the latter, who had replaced Goulden at half time, score.
The intensity then stepped up at both ends of the court and some excellent defensive work by Stevens was followed up by another brilliant shot from long range by Hayward, making it 10-8.
Momentum had now changed now and Ramulu showed his distance shooting skills with the next goal as he found the target from just a few metres past the halfway line.
Bec were still able to find room in attack for shots, but by this point their scoring touch had seemingly transferred to Highbury with Ramulu making it 10-10 after collecting a shot from Burgess.
Having been 9-5 and 10-6 down, Highbury were now level and sniffing out the chance for a winner, although there was a hearts in mouth moment when a Bec attacker saw his shot hit two sides of the korf rim before popping out.
Chances fell to Ackerley and Hayward at the other end with good collecting work from Stevens and Ramulu helping in defence, but none of the shots went in and it finished 10-10.
Despite failing to complete the comeback, Highbury were happy with the result, knowing the momentum is with them for the game against the same opponents on Sunday at the Petchey Academy.