Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division
Archie Sayer 10, 75
Adam Turner 41, Ashley Hay 43
Spoils shared in New Lamb Meadow derby between Arlesey Town and Baldock Town
- Credit: DANNY LOO PHOROGRAPHY
Arlesey Town and Baldock Town served up a festive feast in the battle of New Lamb Meadow landlords and tenants - finishing with a 2-2 draw in the Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division.
As it does in most derby matches, the formbook was conspicuously missing as Baldock belied their lowly position to claim a deserved share of the points.
And they probably should have took all three.
Goals by Adam Turner and Ashley Hay in the closing stages of the first half had put the Reds in front and they dominated chances after the break too.
But Archie Sayer salvaged a point for the landlords with his second of the game 15 minutes from time.
Arlesey made two changes from the side that beat London Colney 5-1 in their last outing with a striker crisis forcing assistant manager Kaan Fehmi to replace hat-trick hero from that game, Charlie Moss, laid low on the morning of the game.
Tom Millett in for Shayan Gharmarinezhad was the other change.
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Baldock had not played in the league since December 11 with their last game of any sort coming four days later against Langford in the League Challenge Trophy.
The expected ring rust wasn't visible in the opening minutes and it could have been a whole different story had they converted the firs opportunity of the afternoon.
Charlie Rome had it after Josh Furness got in far too easily down the left.
His shot though was blocked behind and five minutes later Sayer had put the hosts ahead with a bizarre goal.
A clipped ball into him had some waiting for an offside flag and while that never came, goalkeeper Ollie Skinner got there comfortably ahead of Sayer.
He dropped it tough and it simply hit the forward's leg before rolling almost apologetically into the net.
Luke Revells went close with an effort from the edge of the area shortly after and it seemed at this stage like the Blues were well on top.
But for the remainder of the half, Baldock started to slowly come into the contest without ever truly looking like doing so.
They had chances, Furness nodded over from a corner while Finlay Aldridge was inches away from connecting with a through ball.
However, it all changed in the last five minutes of the half.
The equaliser was fortunate in the extreme, Turner's shot from the left was a cross, plain and simple, but it curled in towards goal and dropped over Ryan Hilliard into the corner.
However, the go-ahead goal was neither bizarre or fortunate, it was a wonderful strike.
Hay got it with a first-time attempt on the right of the box, having been played in by Jude White, his shot flying beyond the flailing keeper.
They should have added to their lead before the break too, Rome going it alone when he should have played one more pass, and then an unmarked Hay heading straight at Hilliard.
The break allowed Standen to make some changes, throwing on both Eleftherios Metso and Alex Taylor for Muhammad Zilboud and Reece Crowter.
The changes only brought a frantic element into Arlesey's play, Brett O'Connor putting their only shot in the opening 15 minutes wide.
Too often though it was overplayed or there was a lack of composure and the Reds continued to look the more likely to score next.
Finlay Aldridge had a shot saved by Hilliard and Coppin shot wide from the edge of the area.
The latter also had a free header straight down the keeper's throat, the same ending when Hay had a similar chance from a ball in from the left.
Baldock were looking in control though while the opposite was true of Arlesey, committing niggly fouls and generally just second best to every ball.
Hilliard though was still fighting and after two saves in a minute to deny Hay and Rome, he then made the best of the lot moments after, coming out quickly to narrow the angle and push Aldridge's effort away.
And those opportunities came back to bite Baldock as Arlesey grabbed an equaliser with 15 minutes to go, O'Connor sending the ball in from the right for Sayer to divert home.
A final scramble in the Baldock box was the nearest either side came to finding a winner.
Arlesey Town: Hilliard, Lamond, Millett, Randall, Revels, O'Connor, Ziboud (Taylor 46), Sayer, Fehmi, Crowter (Metso 46).
Sub (not used): Tuttle, Payne.
Goals: Sayer 10, 75
Booked: O'Connor 39, Sayer 64, Taylor 79
Baldock Town: Skinner, Laing, Furness, Turner, Mitchell (Downes 81), Coppin, Gaffney, White, Hay, Rome (Joy 86), Aldridge.
Subs (not used): Trott, Rowland, Harpur.
Goals: Turner 41, Hay 43
Booked: Mitchell 55, White 79
HT: Arlesey Town 1 Baldock Town 2
Referee: Daniel Smith