First's suffer defeat in top of the table clash
Despite twice holding the lead the first team slipped to a 3-2 defeat away at promotion rivals Bedfont Sports, as they concede twice in the last five minutes to come away pointless.
It was a nervy opening to the game with both sides seemingly happy to gift possession back to their opponents. However it was Bedfont who went closest to opening the scoring inside five minutes. A foul on the right by Jeff Addo-Dankwa led to a free kick being swung in by Matt Riggs and somehow turned wide at the back post by Simo Mbonkwi.
Having weathered the initial early Bedfont pressure, we grew into the game and link up between Daryl Cooper-Smith and Matty Auletta ended with Auletta proding the ball just wide of the right hand post, but was adjudged offside.
Bedfont continued to have the better of things, and only a tremendous headed clearance by the recall Anson Cousins prevented Riggs from latching onto Mbonkwi's cross, and a minute later a great last ditch challenge by Matt Ferdinando prevented Jacob Lambe from opening the scoring.
Our first real effort on goal came on the quarter hour when Auletta picked up a poor headed clearance, but saw his shot blocked by Luke Ruddick, and as Bedfont broke Matt Farrell found his way into the book for bringing down Mbonkwi.
Farrell saw a shot blocked by Joe Jackson on 18 minutes and a couple of minutes later a great run and cross by Ferdinando was met by Andrew White, but although his header beat Rourke Pickford it cannoned against the bar and Bedfont hooked clear.
Riggs fired goalwards for Bedfont, which skipper Aaron Bogle blocked with a certain part of his anatomy - body on the line skip, well done. Michael Eacott gathered a long shot by Mbonkwi before we struck on 35 minutes.
Pickford saved well from a low Cooper-Smith drive but couldn't hold the ball and Auletta was on hand to fire home for 1-0. Minutes later and Ferdinando bought a good low save down to his right by Pickford.
Bedfont should have levelled just before the break with a flowing move. We half cleared a corner, and neat play between Mngadi and Harris set up Lambe who fired wide from six yards and half time came with us holding a narrow 1-0 lead.
We started the second half brightly, and had a decent shout for a penalty as White was bundled over in the area, but play was waved on, and we regained possession quickly, with White and Cousins finding Cooper-Smith who set up Ferdinando, but his curled effort was off target.
Bedfont made a change on 53 minutes replacing Riggs with Sanchez Benali and it was too prove an inspired substitution as the lively Benali was a constant thorn in our side.
We were shading the opening 15 minutes of the second half, but Bedfont was always dangerous, and only good hands by Eacott from a Mngadi cross prevented Lambe from heading Bedfont level.
A poor back pass by Jackson let in Ferdinando and although he toe-poked the ball beyond Pickford, Ruddick was able to get back stop the ball and play back to the keeper who picked it up giving us a free kick two yards from goal. We should have been able to move back to edge of six yards box but didn't and after several efforts on goal from Cooper-Smith, Farrell and others the ball was hacked clear.
Darren Salmon made a couple of changes on 65 minutes replacing Cooper-Smith and Auletta with Matt Fairbrother and Liam Holden.
Hicks fired wide of Eacotts left hand post on 67 minutes, but scores were levelled a minute later, subsitute Matt Baxter saw his effort blocked by Eacott, but Harris was on hand to fire home the loose ball.
Bedfont continued to dominate and Benali fired a free kick straight at the wall after a foul by Ferdinando, before we struck again with just under fifteen minutes remaining. White won a header and set up Farrell, his through ball reached Holden who finished superbly from 12 yards.
Bedfont kept up their probing game and were getting the ball wide and whipping in crosses at every opportunity, and from one of these, with five minutes remaining the levelled things up, when Mbonkwi was given a free header at the back post to nod home.
We could have snatched an injury time winner when a ball over the top found substitute Fairbrother, but he could only lash his shot over the bar. Bedfont attacked from the goal kick and a cross from Mngadi found Harris who put them ahead for the first time in the game and clinched all three points.