HORNDEAN fought back from a 3-1 deficit to draw an entertaining game with in-form Alresford at Five Heads on Tuesday night.

Only two points separated the local rivals in the Sydenhams League Premier Division table, but the Magpies, with their long unbeaten run, looked firm favourites to notch up another win after taking a two-goal cushion into half-time.

In difficult conditions, Alresford ruthlessly punished any lapses in the home defence. Horndean failed to deal with an excellent right-wing cross from Tom Richards and Sam Burt slotted home to put Alresford in front.

The Deans responded well. Dan Kempson blocked a strong shot, but Robbie Tambling was first to the rebound and snapped up the chance to make it 1-1.

Back came Alresford with their best move so far. A great move down the left delivered the ball to Tom Sands who beat his man and crossed for Craig Harding to restore the lead.

Shortly before half-time, Horndean conceded a penalty and Chris Mason made no mistake from the spot, giving the visitors what seemed an iron grip on the game.

But Horndean roared back in the second half, making full use of the slope advantage.

Jack Warren finished clinically after being sent clear by Mark Smith and Horndean were right back in the game at 3-2.

Smith himself headed the equaliser as the determined Deans ramped up the pressure.

Three goals apiece, and both sides had chances to win it during a frenetic final 20 minutes.

But a draw was probably the right result. Alresford were excellent in the first half, while Horndean showed a real desire to get something from the game in the second half.

Both sides are on the road this Saturday: Alresford cross the water to Newport, while Horndean make the shorter trip to Fareham. Alresford host Sholing next Wednesday (Jan 11).