Missed first-half chances and a defensive error cost Berkhamsted FC a win at bottom-but-one side North Leigh on Saturday as the honours ended even at 1-1.
The pitch passed an early morning inspection so both sides were able to show off new signings. Lamar Simpson, who played for Berko boss Steve Bateman at Aylesbury, made his debut for The Comrades in midfield, as did 16-year-old Antonis Vasiliou when he came off the bench.
Hosts Leigh put three new signings on the bench.
Berko had the best of the first-half, with the ball shooting across the six-yard box often, without anyone converting. Simpson released Matt Bateman who turned and struck a shot that hit the post. When Bateman repaid the service and crossed for Simpson, it looked a certain goal but the shot went wide.
At the other end Berko’s keeper kept out a snap-shot and tipped a free-kick over the bar.
In the second-half Berko saved a free-kick from Alfie Grant, before Bateman got under the ball and shot over after he had raced clear.
Ten minutes into the period, Will Summerfield hit the opening goal when Bateman laid the ball to him and he cut inside, calmly finishing past out-of-position keeper Eddie Cavanagh.
The lead lasted only five minutes when Danny Murphy was robbed of a bouncing ball and leading scorer George Seacole took full advantage to net with a shot.
Both sides tried hard for a winner but to no avail.
Berko, who are now in sixth and just four points off the final playoff spot in the Evo Stik Southern League Division One Central and with a game in hand, will see it as two points dropped but Leigh look to be in false position and were significantly better than other sides Berko have faced.
Leigh were also boosted by news this week that one of the two relegation places will now be taken by Aylesbury, who have fallen foul of new dressing room-size regulations from The FA.
Last Tuesday night Berko bowed out of the Herts Senior Cup after a 2-0 loss when hosting Stevenage. Berko gave a good account of themselves against a side with players from five divisions above.
Berko entertain a much-changed Welwyn Garden City side in the league this Saturday. Dean Barker is now in charge at City and has had to make a host of signings after previous boss Adam Fisher and several players left following a financial dispute.
Berko then have a difficult away game at fellow playoff hopefuls Bedford Town on Tuesday night, January 29.